The Tragedy Of King Richard The Second
Essay, Research Paper
In the play “The Tragedy of King Richard the Second” Shakespeare portrayed two different personalities. One was of a man a true politician, who was kind and just, never letting those around him misguide him. He would listen to every side there was of a story and even though those around him gave their opinions, he only considered those that were fair. He was a people person, so to speak, and a good king. The other was of a man star struck and lazy. A man, who blindly took the advice of those around him, be it just or unjust. A good king he thought himself to be but puppet to the men of his court is what he realized he was.
The first description was of Bullingbrook, cousin to King Richard II and Duke of Herford. In the beginning of the play Bullingbrook and Mowbray were accusing each other of treacherous acts. Bullingbrook accused Mowbray of plotting the Duke of Gloucester s death and Mowbray denied, accusing Bullingbrook of lying. Needless to say their accusations were brought before the king who gave an impressive speech about both men being men of the court so both men would be treated equally. Then he turned around and banished Mowbray for life and Bullingbrook, his cousin for only six years. Bullingbrook accepted his sentence, following it faithfully until King Richard II began to sell off his inheritance to get money for the war. Bullingbrook then decided it was time to come back.
Upon his arrival many of the high-established men of the court joined him, swearing their loyalty to him. They then began to bring down those who were traitors to England, those who would rob from the people and lead his cousin, the king, astray. Bullingbrook looking at the situation his country was in then began to device a plan for King Richard II return. He and others agreed that the King s priority was not his people but with gaining a well-known name.
While all of this was transpiring King Richard II was away at Ireland fighting a war he could not afford in any sense of the word. To start with he was not financially equipped for the war, so he began by heavily taxing the commoners. This of course lost him their support along with the support of many of his high-established citizens. A good majority of which highly disapproved the idea of him banishing Bullingbrook and selling off his inheritance. He was also unappreciative of his ancestry. By this I mean he willed his elders dead and took no heed of there advises, as well as took his took his position as king for granted.
When he arrived back in England he found that his loyal followers were either dead or deserted him all together and went to join forces with Bullingbrook. Richard II realizing all his power was gone and exactly how unwise it was to take his royalty for granted decided to relinquish his crown, handing it over to Bullingbrook. Who being the true politician that he was took the crown, sent the queen back to France, and had King Richard locked away. He then wished King Richard were dead in the presence of his guards, knowing he could not truly be king until he was dead and that one of his guards would do it to please him.
In the end his wish was granted but since it was not his direct order he could easily wash his hands of the whole matter and accept the crown solemnly. Shakespeare showed us the difference Between a man who use his head to get what he wanted accomplished and a man who thought just having the title was enough to rule the country. In a way this play shows us that those who have to work for something appreciates it more than if it were handed to them.