richard ii 2.wps

richard ii 2.wps - Devon Gant Arts of Power Essay Due:...

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Devon Gant Arts of Power Essay Due: 4/3/08 Prof: Bellany In what ways does Shakespeare reveal the essential theatricality of kingship in his depictions of Richard II and his rival Henry Bolingbrook? In the play Richard II by William Shakespeare, the characters of Richard II and Henry Bolingbrook show the two very different kingly facades that the English people have seen over their many years of monarchical rule. Throughout the play, these two characters are contrasted and compared in almost every scene. While the nobles support Richard at first because of his claim to the throne by divine appointment, Bolingbrook’s followers insist that the people have the right to depose a king who is hurting the interests of his people. The theatricality of kingship is highly influential to Bolingbrook’s success in overthrowing Richard II and taking the crown with no blood being spilled in battle. Throughout the play, Bolingbrook plays the part of the victim and thereby gains the help of those who used to pledge their allegiance to the rightful king, Richard. Richard , however , plays the part of the monarch crowned by God and the heavens to rule. Through these two very different theatrical roles, Richard and Bolingbrook show how easily the throne is overturned, however it is the way both of these men behave behind closed doors that shows the reason behind the turmoil that will envelop England through the next few decades.
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No one in the play Richard II is more caught up in the theatricality of kingship than Richard himself. Richard shows the reader through many of his monologues that he truly believes himself to be above everyone around him and divinely so. In his monologue in Act 3, Scene 2, Richard returns to England from Ireland saying “As a long-parted mother with her child/Plays fondly with her tears and smiles in meeting; /So, weeping, smiling, greet I thee my earth, /And do thee favors with my royal hands” (III.ii.8-11). Richard believes he is like a mother to the English earth and therefore can command it. Later in this monologue, Richard declares that the earth will swallow up his enemies and protect him because God has appointed him as the rightful king and
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This note was uploaded on 04/21/2008 for the course HISTORY 510:245 taught by Professor Bellany during the Spring '08 term at Rutgers.

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richard ii 2.wps - Devon Gant Arts of Power Essay Due:...

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