Preview
Preview

Shakespeare’s Richard II Essay: Search for Identity in Richard II

:: 1 Works Cited
Length: 1655 words (4.7 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Search for Identity in Richard II

 
Shakespeare's Richard II tells the story of Richard's fall from power. Being dethroned by Bolingbroke forces Richard to confront the limitations and nature of his power as king. As audience members, we follow Richard on his journey of self-discovery, which enlightens him even as his life is shattered by Bolingbroke's revolt. Paradoxically, it is in utter defeat that Richard comes closest to understanding what it is to be human. Unfortunately he is unable to accept life as an ordinary subject after having tasted what it means to rule.

For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground,

And tell sad stories of the death of kings-

How some have been deposed, some slain in war,

Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed,

Some poisoned by their wives, some sleeping killed,

All murdered. For within the hollow crown

That rounds the mortal temples of a king

Keeps Death his court; and there the antic sits,

Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp,

Allowing him a little breath, a little scene,

To monarchize, be feared, and kill with looks,

Infusing him with self and vain conceit,

As if this flesh which walls about our life

Were brass impregnable; and humored thus,

Comes at the last, and with a little pin

Bores through his castle wall; and farewell, king.

Cover your heads, and mock not flesh and blood

With solemn reverence. Through away respect,

Tradition, form, and ceremonious duty,

For you have but mistook me all this while.

I live with bread, like you; feel want,

Taste grief, need friends. Subjected thus,

How can you say to me I am a king? (III.ii. 151-1173)

 

The above speech expresses nicely Rich...


... middle of paper ...


...n is,

With nothing shall be pleased till he be eased

With being nothing. (V.v.38-41)

Richard can never bring himself to be "eased" with being ordinary, with being what he sees as "nothing" and so he can never live as a subject instead of a ruler. It is perhaps significant that when he dies he seeks to return to the only identity he really knew, that of a ruler, and warns that "Exeter, thy fierce hand / Hath with the King's blood stained the King's own land" (V.v. 109-10). He has accepted intellectually the transient nature of kings' power and understands he can no longer possess even that, yet in death he reaches for the only identity he ever really held, that of absolute monarch.

Works Cited:

Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of King Richard The Second. William Shakespeare: The Complete Works. Ed. Alfred Harbage. Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1969.


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]
Search for Identity in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Oliver Twist - Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Oliver from Oliver Twist represent the characteristic Victorian children who are naturally good and appeal to the sentiments of the reader when facing difficult situations that aid in finding who they are. The children are required to decide between two conflicting ideas such as childhood and adulthood in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and even good versus evil in Oliver Twist while they search to find where they belong in the natural order of society....   [tags: Search for Identity Essays]
:: 4 Works Cited
1771 words
(5.1 pages)
Powerful 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]
The Process of Schlomo's Search for Identity Essay - ... This caused a great deal of internal dissonance for him. Adapting to a family, a country, a religion, and a culture is unquestionably difficult for a young boy. Since a language sticks with someone across cultures and boundaries, it is considered one of the most defining aspects of one’s identity. Language creates and breaks barriers between people, religions, and education systems. It is certainly one of the hardest facets of culture to pick up. Some immigrants never learn the language of their new environment, which ultimately places extra social pressures and discriminations on them....   [tags: cultural identity, Live and Become]
:: 3 Works Cited
995 words
(2.8 pages)
Better 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]
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]
Shakespeare’s Richard III Essay: Richard's Loss of Self - Richard's Loss of Self in Richard III         The attack of "conscience" that King Richard suffers in Act 5, Scene 5 of Shakespeare's Richard III (133-157) can be seen as the psychological climax of the drama, one that is critical to both Richard's development as a character and the play's ultimate success. Richard's struggle to reconcile the many different roles he attempts to play into one unified self, reflected in the tone and composition of his speech, adds depth and humanity to his character; at the same time, his ultimate failure to maintain his "self-made" identity simplifies the play in a way that allows the author to satisfy his audience by punishing the villain and reaffirmi...   [tags: Richard II Richard III Essays]
:: 2 Works Cited
1332 words
(3.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]