Preview
Preview

Shakespeare’s Richard II Essay: The Rape of a Nation

:: 2 Works Cited
Length: 1426 words (4.1 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Richard II  - The Rape of a Nation

 
     By bowing down to the needs of his subjects, a king allows others to dictate his actions and hence compromises the essence of his power. Paradoxically, failing to heed the desires of his subjects transforms a king into a self-indulgent tyrant and propels his kingdom towards ruin and decay. Can a sovereign rule his subjects without considering their general welfare? If a king rules unconscionably, do his subjects have the right to replace him? William Shakespeare's Richard II considers this authoritarian quandary at great length. In particular, John of Gaunt's "other Eden" monologue (2.1.31-68) delves into the perilous nature of unfettered autocracy. Gaunt proclaims that King Richard should relinquish his crown, because he has figuratively raped "mother" England by exploiting the loyalty of his subjects and debasing the grandeur of "this blessed plot" (2.1.50) for his own personal glory.

John of Gaunt's speech takes place from his deathbed. This setting heightens the resonance of his denouncement of Richard, for as Gaunt says, "Where words are scarce they are seldom spent in vain / For they breathe truth that breathe their words in pain" (2.1.8-9). By referring to himself as "a prophet new-inspired," (2.1.31) Gaunt realizes his opportunity to speak with immunity, since there is no physical harm Richard can do him. Every disparaging truth he utters is a lethal arrow aimed directly at Richard's overblown sense of power.

The first section of his monologue deals explicitly with identifying the nature of Richard's vices. Gaunt alludes to Richard's character by employing several brief end-stopped aphorisms that rely heavily on metaphors of self-destruction. This staccato like ...


... middle of paper ...


...se very problems not only signified a fundamental change in the concept of autocratic rule in England, it also paved the way for the development of a more socially equitable system of parliamentary democracy, for once the will of the people is finally recognized, kings are reduced to mere anachronisms.

 

When kings the sword of justice first lay down,

They are no kings, though they possess the crown.

Titles are shadows, crowns are empty things,

The good of subjects is the end of kings. --Daniel Defoe

 

Works Cited

Defoe, Daniel. The True-Born Englishman 2.313. From Bartlett's Familiar Quotations. 15th ed. Ed. Emily Morrison Beck. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1980, 318.

Shakespeare, William. Richard II. The Norton Shakespeare. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1997, 943-1014.

 


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper








This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Essay about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Shakespeare's Richard the Third - All the passions of the irascible rise from the passions of the concupiscible appetite and terminate in them. For instance, anger rises from sadness, and, having wrought vengeance, terminates in joy. -- St. Thomas Aquinas Richard the Third is an intense exploration of the psychology of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and that exploration is centered on Richard’s mind. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened....   [tags: Shakespeare, Richard III]
:: 1 Works Cited
2055 words
(5.9 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Lovers’ Declarations in Shakespeare’s Richard III and Austen’s Pride and Prejudice - Shakespeare’s “Richard III” portrays a ‘serious’ yet passionate declaration of love to Anne greatly contrasting with the more solemn and composed confession given by Mr Collins in Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”. Where Richard III seems to be unable to hold back his feelings Mr Collins appears to quite calmly lay out his reasoning for his proposed match to Elizabeth Bennet. Thus both extracts could be said to be giving us very different depictions of the idea of a ‘declaration of love’. Shakespeare uses hyperbolic language and melodrama in order to exaggerate the supposed love that Richard feels for Anne as he declares that “[Anne’s] beauty, ...did haunt me in my sleep” which can also be desc...   [tags: Shakespeare, Richard III]
:: 1 Works Cited
1344 words
(3.8 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Richard II in William Shakespeare Essay - 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....   [tags: Hero Richard II Shakespeare Essays] 705 words
(2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Richard III by William Shakespeare Essay - Written during a time of peace immediately following the conclusion of the War of the Roses between the Yorks and the Lancasters, William Shakespeare’s play Richard III showcases a multi-faceted master of linguistic eloquence, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, a character who simultaneously manages to be droll, revolting, deadly, yet fascinating. Richard's villainy works in a keen, detestable manner, manifesting itself in his specific use or, rather, abuse of rhetoric. He spends a substantial amount of time directly interacting and therefore breaking the fourth wall and orating to the audience in order to forge a relationship with them, to make members not only his confidants of murderous intenti...   [tags: richard, Duke of Gloucester]
:: 2 Works Cited
1616 words
(4.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
William Shakespeare's Richard III Essay - William Shakespeare's Richard III William Shakespeare’s characterization of Britain’s historical monarch Richard III, formerly Duke of Gloucester, is one of the most controversial in literature. To this day there are arguments upholding Richard III’s villainy and ascertaining his murder of the Princes in the tower, just as there are those who believe that he has been falsely represented by Shakespeare’s play and fight avidly to clear his name of any and all crimes. Because of the uncertainty surrounding his true character, Richard III is an intriguing personality to put into modern culture, which is exactly what Ian McKellen does in his rendition of the infamous ruler....   [tags: William Shakespeare Richard III Essays] 843 words
(2.4 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Shakespeare on Machiavelli: The Prince in Richard III Essay - Shakespeare on Machiavelli:  The Prince in Richard III     According to many, Shakespeare intentionally portrays Richard III in ways that would have the world hail him as the ultimate Machiavel.  This build up only serves to further the dramatic irony when Richard falls from his throne.  The nature of Richard's character is key to discovering the commentary Shakespeare is delivering on the nature of tyrants.  By setting up Richard to be seen as the ultimate Machiavel, only to have him utterly destroyed, Shakespeare makes a dramatic commentary on the frailty of tyranny and such men as would aspire to tyrannical rule....   [tags: Richard II Richard III Essays Shakespeare]
:: 3 Works Cited
1505 words
(4.3 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on The Supernatural in Shakespeare's Richard III - The Supernatural in Shakespeare's Richard III Casting a darkly mythical aura around Richard III, supernatural elements are intrinsic to this Shakespearean history play. The prophetic dreams of Clarence and Stanley blur the line between dream and reality, serving to foreshadow impending doom. The ghosts that appear before Richard III and Richmond before their battle create an atmosphere of dread and suspense, and they also herald Richard's destiny. The curses of three female royalties are fulfilled at the end, serving as reminders that the divine powers are stronger than Richard's malice....   [tags: Richard III William Shakespeare Essays Papers]
:: 1 Works Cited
1457 words
(4.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Shakespeare, Loncraine, Donaldson, Richard, and Me Essay - Shakespeare, Loncraine, Donaldson, Richard, and Me Act 2.4 of Loncraine’s Richard III is where I started furiously scribbling notes in the margins of notes. After Rivers is shockingly murdered, Loncraine films a still shot of the countryside. A farmer leads an ox in the foreground, while a train noisily passes in the background. There is a quick cut to the train, smoke billowing from its engines, entering a dark tunnel and then another cut to a toy train in the palace. The young Yorks are playing with the toy train and also a gray airplane....   [tags: Shakespeare Loncraine Donaldson Richard Essays] 1641 words
(4.7 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Evil King in Shakespeare's Richard III Essay - The Evil King in Shakespeare's Richard III Richard is an actor, a fully evil actor, who through his mastery of the stage has come to appreciate his skill. Richard Moulton, in his Shakespeare as a Dramatic Thinker, proclaims Richard's wonder at his own command of the stage: "Richard has become an artist in evil: the natural emotions attending crime-whether of passionate longing, or horror and remorse-have given place to artistic appreciation of masterpieces" (40). And Robert Weimann, comparing Richard Gloucester to a character in Shakespeare's King John states: "Both characters exemplify a strenuous need to perform, 'toiling desperately' to play a role, 'to find out,' and, for better or wor...   [tags: Richard II Richard III Essays]
:: 9 Works Cited
1880 words
(5.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Sun Imagery in Shakespeare's Richard III Essay example - Sun Imagery in Shakespeare's Richard III      Shakespeare's Richard III is a play pervasive in figurative language, one of the most notable being the symbolic image of the sun and the shadow it casts. In an examination of a short passage from the text, it will be argued that Richard is compared to a shadow in relation to the sun, which has traditionally been held as a symbol of the king. The passage is significant not only because it speaks volumes about the plots of Richard, but also because it is relevant in understanding the overall plot of the play, which in the first few acts is almost indistinguishable from the plot of the scheming Duke of Gloucester....   [tags: Richard II Richard III Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
609 words
(1.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]