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Richard II

af William Shakespeare

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The sensitive and poetic Richard II is undoubtedly the rightful king of England but he is unscrupulous and weak. When his cousin Henry Bolingbroke returns from banishment and mounts a challenge to his authority, Richard's right to the throne proves of little help to him.
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Engelsk (44)  Svensk (1)  Alle sprog (45)
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when will I stop pretending I'm going to like Shakespeare? part four ( )
  rosscharles | May 19, 2021 |
I’m not a big fan of this play, since there seems to be more minor melo-drama than actual drama, but if taken in the context of the Wars of the Roses play series it acts rather well as a prequel. It’s arguable whether the conflict between Richard II and Henry Bolingbroke was actually the beginning of the Wars, but this play certainly paints Richard as a key instigator. His poor actions don’t seem that dramatic compared to other monarchs in Shakespearean plays, but I guess in reality there was a lot more jealousy motivating certain characters and without a direct heir it was easy for Bolingbroke to escalate a simple matter of regaining his inheritance to a play for the crown itself. British monarchy is tricky, and this play doesn’t give me much sympathy for any of the characters, but I’m looking forward to watching/reading the rest of the sequence. ( )
  JaimieRiella | Feb 25, 2021 |
I found this to be the saddest of the Shakespeare plays. The scenes where Richard realizes that his supporters have all abandoned him and that he is about to lose his kingdom is pure pathos. The play is also the beginning of the Henry series and defines the "original sin" of Henry IV in deposing a legitimate king. This sin starts the civil wars that consume the other plays in the series.

The Folger ebook edition is a pleasure to read. The essay providing a modern interpretation of Richard II is, however, a major disappointment since it advances a thesis (i.e. that Richard II consciously wanted to be deposed) that seems totally implausible to me. ( )
  M_Clark | Jan 18, 2021 |
This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Richard II
Author: William Shakespeare
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Play
Pages: 99
Words: 27K

Synopsis:


From Wikipedia

The play spans only the last two years of Richard's life, from 1398 to 1400. It begins with King Richard sitting majestically on his throne in full state, having been requested to arbitrate a dispute between Thomas Mowbray and Richard's cousin, Henry Bolingbroke, later Henry IV, who has accused Mowbray of squandering money given to him by Richard for the king's soldiers and of murdering Bolingbroke's uncle, the Duke of Gloucester. Bolingbroke's father, John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, meanwhile, believes it was Richard himself who was responsible for his brother's murder. After several attempts to calm both men, Richard acquiesces and it is determined that the matter be resolved in the established method of trial by battle between Bolingbroke and Mowbray, despite the objections of Gaunt.

The tournament scene is very formal with a long, ceremonial introduction, but as the combatants are about to fight, Richard interrupts and sentences both to banishment from England. Bolingbroke is originally sentenced to ten years' banishment, but Richard reduces this to six years upon seeing John of Gaunt's grieving face, while Mowbray is banished permanently. The king's decision can be seen as the first mistake in a series leading eventually to his overthrow and death, since it is an error which highlights many of his character flaws, displaying as it does indecisiveness (in terms of whether to allow the duel to go ahead), abruptness (Richard waits until the last possible moment to cancel the duel), and arbitrariness (there is no apparent reason why Bolingbroke should be allowed to return and Mowbray not). In addition, the decision fails to dispel the suspicions surrounding Richard's involvement in the death of the Duke of Gloucester – in fact, by handling the situation so high-handedly and offering no coherent explanation for his reasoning, Richard only manages to appear more guilty. Mowbray predicts that the king will sooner or later fall at the hands of Bolingbroke.

John of Gaunt dies and Richard II seizes all of his land and money. This angers the nobility, who accuse Richard of wasting England's money, of taking Gaunt's money (belonging by rights to his son, Bolingbroke) to fund war in Ireland, of taxing the commoners, and of fining the nobles for crimes committed by their ancestors. They then help Bolingbroke to return secretly to England, with a plan to overthrow Richard II. There remain, however, subjects who continue to be faithful to the king, among them Bushy, Bagot, Green and the Duke of Aumerle (son of the Duke of York), cousin of both Richard and Bolingbroke. When King Richard leaves England to attend to the war in Ireland, Bolingbroke seizes the opportunity to assemble an army and invades the north coast of England. Executing both Bushy and Green, Bolingbroke wins over the Duke of York, whom Richard has left in charge of his government in his absence.

Upon Richard's return, Bolingbroke not only reclaims his lands but lays claim to the very throne. Crowning himself King Henry IV, he has Richard taken prisoner to the castle of Pomfret. Aumerle and others plan a rebellion against the new king, but York discovers his son's treachery and reveals it to Henry, who spares Aumerle as a result of the intercession of the Duchess of York while executing the other conspirators. After interpreting King Henry's "living fear" as a reference to the still-living Richard, an ambitious nobleman (Exton) goes to the prison and murders him. King Henry repudiates the murderer and vows to journey to Jerusalem to cleanse himself of his part in Richard's death.

My Thoughts:

Another good “history” play. I do wonder how close to actual history they hew or if Shakespeare and these plays were the “bastard histories” of yesteryear like the “historical movies” of today are. But not being a history buff nor ever planning on becoming one, I don't care enough for it to really matter.

And I don't have anything to say here. I enjoyed this and that was that. * dusts hands off *

★★★✬☆ ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Jan 13, 2021 |
It took me a little longer to get through than I expected, but now I can finally watch the Hollow Crown adaptation with Ben Whishaw. ( )
  littlebookjockey | Sep 15, 2020 |
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Dawson, Anthony B.Redaktørmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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Old John of Gaunt, time-honour'd Lancaster,
Hast thou, according to thy oath and band,
Brought hither Henry Hereford thy bold son,
Here to make good the boisterous late appeal,
Which then our leisure would not let us hear,
Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray?
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This work is for the complete Richard II only. Do not combine this work with abridgements, adaptations or simplifications (such as "Shakespeare Made Easy"), Cliffs Notes or similar study guides, or anything else that does not contain the full text. Do not include any video recordings. Additionally, do not combine this with other plays.
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The sensitive and poetic Richard II is undoubtedly the rightful king of England but he is unscrupulous and weak. When his cousin Henry Bolingbroke returns from banishment and mounts a challenge to his authority, Richard's right to the throne proves of little help to him.

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