The Tragedy of King Richard the Second: The Garden of the Kingdom

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The Tragedy of King Richard the Second: The Garden of England

In Act 3, Scene 4 of The Tragedy of King Richard the Second by Shakespeare, the Queen finds that she is unhappy due to an unexplained intuition. While in the Duke of York’s palace, the Queen’s waiting-women try to comfort her until the gardeners interrupt the failed attempts to reach a happiness. As the Queen secretly listens into the gardener’s conversation, she hears that they are speaking about binding the apricots and plucking the weeds. However, the gardening essentially is a metaphor for the rule and management of the kingdom under King Richard II. This scene is important because it displays how Shakespeare desires to reveal the perspective of the common man and the type of rule King Richard II has over the people of England. In the metaphors of the garden, blame is placed on Richard and his advisors for England’s state and the King’s overrule by Bolingbroke.

The gardeners, who represent members of the public, are introduced in the end of the play’s third act. Before this, Queen Isabel has been suffering with sadness as her waiting-women struggle to cheer her. The Queen rejects all of their attempts until she notices the gardeners and hides herself to hear their conversation. Here, the unhappy Queen states, “…here come the gardeners…/They will talk of state, for everyone doth so/Against a change" (3.4. 28-29). What is important to note in this statement, is that Queen Isabel expects the political state to be an ordinary conversation topic of the lower class and common man. The news of King Richard’s downfall has reached as far down the social later from the King to the working class. This ultimately indicates King Richard’s loss of rulership in England. Shakes...

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...ability for Richard and his nobles to rule England successfully. They constantly refer to nobles as weeds and the want for them to be removed from England’s rule. However, the gardeners also mention King Richard, himself as being a source for Richard’s downfall. In this case, the common man believes that King Richard and his nobles, the Earl of Wiltshire, Bushy, and Greene are all to blame for the bad condition England is in. Bolingbroke is one to pull the weeds from the soil (execute the nobles) and by this, creates a better relationship with his future people by getting rid of what is brining the kingdom to its downfall. This foreshadows the power and authority Bolingbroke naturally possesses by showing action and not being afraid to command. Bolingbroke is pulling the “weeds” of the royals so that he can flourish in his future kingdom as a fit and finest King.

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