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Richard II

Structure, characters, and themes


Richard II
Geneology of Plantagenants

King Edward III


[dead]

Edward, the Duke of Duke of Lancaster Duke of York


Black Prince Gloucester Gaunt

King Richard II Bolingbroke Aumerle


[Henry IV]
Richard II
Structure
• Act I -- establishes characters and issues
– ends in first turning point
• banishment
• Act II - IV -- develops story, themes
– includes midpoint
• Flint Castle
– ends in 2nd turning point
• abdication
• Act V -- climax
• death of Richard
Richard II
Rise and Fall structure
External change
Bolingbroke
Richard as King King

Richard
dead
Bolingbroke as exile
Richard II
Characters
• Primary -- dynamic
– Protagonist, changes through play
• Richard
– Antagonist, character revealed
• Bolingbroke
• Secondary -- static
– Reflection characters
• Gaunt, York, Aumerle, Queen
– Stereotyped
• Bushy, Bagot, and Green; Exton, Northumberland
Richard II
Character
• Motivations
– actions
– dialogue
– soliloquies
• Beliefs or world views
– speeches
– what others say about character
• Foiling with other characters
– comparison which shows one character as better
Richard II
Foils
• Character foiling
– Richard and Bolingbroke
– Old Gaunt and Bold Bolingbroke
– Gaunt/Bol and York/Aumerle
• Plot foiling
– Act 1, scenes 1 & 2
• Action foiling -- fewer men w/Rich, more w/Bol
• Similar situations --
– 1.1 and 4.1
– 1.1 and 5.4
Richard II
Rise and Fall structure
Internal change
Richard as
Bolingbroke as
champion Man
of right

Bolingbroke as
Richard as tyrant Machiavellian
Richard II
Themes
• role of King
• world view of Renaissance Christian
Humanist and Machievellian
• appearance vs. reality
• honor
• time
Richard II -- Act I
Scene 1 Scene 2 Scene 3 Scene 4
Public Private Public Private
Bolingbroke Gaunt and aborted joust Richard and
vs Mowbray Duchess of banishments “caterpillars”
Worchester
Richard II, Act I, scene 1

Rich
Gaunt Aum

Bol Mow
Richard II
Rise and Fall structure
External change
Bolingbroke
Richard as King King

Richard
dead
Bolingbroke as exile
Richard II
Language
• Renaissance Christian Humanist vs.
Machievellian
– Great Chain of Being metaphors
• “Set speeches” vs. dialogue
Richard II
Motifs and Imagery
• Disease, physician
• Gardening
• Flattery
• Judgment
Richard II -- Act II
Scene 1 Scene 2 Scene 3 Scene 4
Gaunt’s Richard Bol gather Welsh to
death to Ireland support leave
Rumors of
Rich’s death
“This royal
throne of
kings”
Richard II -- Act III
Scene 1 Scene 2 Scene 3 Scene 4
Bol judges Richard’s return Flint Castle Gardner scene
Bushy and and emotional MIDPOINT
Green roller-coaster SCENE

“Earth” speech
“Sun” speech
“Death of Kings”
Richard II, Act III, scene 3

Rich

North
Bol
Richard II -- Act IV
Scene 1
Abdication or Deposition Scene

“2 buckets” metaphor
Richard and mirror
Richard II -- Act V
Scene 1 Scene 2 Scene 3
Queen’s Yorks Beggar
farewell at home and the
King

Scene 4 Scene 5 Scene 6


Exton Prison Scene Public
Death of Richard Banishment
of Exton
Richard II, Act V, scene 6

Bol
North

Rich