RICHARD II – THE KING AND THE PLAY
(1367-1400), king of
He showed extravagance, a difficult temper, and a liking for favorites, especially the unpopular Robert de Vare. Therefore in 1386, his uncle, Thomas of Gloucester, and the Lords Appellant defeated and drove out the king’s supporters and installed a noble council to control him.
Richard threw off their tutelage and for eight years ruled modestly and well.
In 1397 he was strong enough for his revenge; the leaders of the Lords
Appellant were seized and tried as traitors,
ruled with absolute authority until May 1399, when Bolingbroke landed in
Richard II (c.1595), a play by Shakespeare. It is in many respects the most original of Shakespeare’s early chronicle plays. Here he emrges from the influence of Christofer Marlowe. In spite od the resemblance of the theme, the tragic fall of a weak king, to that of Marlowe’s Edward II, Shakespeare’s play differs from his predecessor’s in structure, characterization, and diction.
The action covers a shorter space of time and it’s more compact; the lyric flow of the dialogue contrasts strongly with the declamation an occasional direct dramatic expression of Marlowe. Most important of all, Shakespeare’s characterization of his hero is a far more subtle study than Marlowe’s portrayal of his vacillating monarch.
The character of Richard, self-indulgent, self pitying, and blind to the actualities of life, is brought out by contrast with that of his opponent, the hard realist, Bolingbroke. In the end Richard’s fall is due not so much to outside forces as to a fatal flaw in his character, and in this respect, at least, the play- foreshadows the later and greater tragedies.
had a special interest for Shakespeare’s contemporaries, for Queen Elizabeth
fancied thet she might be identified in the popular mind with king Richard, and her censors struck out the deposition
scene from printed copis of the play. On the eve of the revolt of
They managed to prove their innocence of ill intent and were, indeed, invited to play at court on the day before Essez’s execution.
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