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The Importance of the Garden Scene in Shakespeare’s Richard II

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Why is Garden Scene included in Shakespeare’s Richard II? What does it contribute to the overall flow and development of the play?  The Garden Scene (Act III, Scene IV) is an important and pivotal moment, providing plot update, allegory, exposition, and character contrasts.

The Garden Scene is important for several reasons, firstly, it occurs between two scenes in which Richard, Bolingbroke, and others are present, but between which some time has passed. This implies a costume change, and this little scene provides just such an opportunity. But this is far from the full measure of the scene's worth. In addition to its practical necessity, it also provides a much-needed respite from the increasingly mounting tension of the play; we are allowed to dally for a moment in the royal gardens before being thrust back into the action. We observe, for the better part of the scene, two humble gardeners, welcome company after three acts of nothing but kings and queens, lords and ladies, dukes and duchesses; particulary for any groundlings watching the play back in 1597, this was a pause...


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...ricanoes blow, yet the basic concept of an interconnectedness between mankind and nature is deftly and effectively utilized.

The Garden Scene is Shakespeare at his metaphorical best, a deceptively simple little scene that yields so much more than simply an opportunity for a costume change. It provides perspective on the cyclical nature of the machinations of man.

Works Cited:

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

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