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Richard II in William Shakespeare Essay

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Richard II in William Shakespeare


The plays of William Shakespeare are generally easy to categorize, and the heroes of these plays are equally so. However, in the history play Richard II, Shakespeare’s king is more ambiguous than Hamlet or Romeo– there is no clear cut answer to whether Richard II is a tragic hero... or simply a tragedy. Historically, Richard II was crowned at a very young age, forced into the role of monarch, and thrust without hesitation into the murky world of political intrigue, which perhaps lends his character sympathy because he had no choice in his fate. However, despite his forced role in life, Richard II seems to rely on the concept of divine right to secure his throne, making no effort to sustain it once it is “irrevocably” his. Richard II is both the tragic hero and the tragedy– simply playing the role of King for the majority of the play, but only coming into his own after he is deposed, and only then to fight for his own existence.

From the beginning of the play, Richard II is apathetic at best in his royal role. By exiling Bolingbroke and...


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