Richard II is the first play of Shakespeare's four-part
History Tetraology. It tells the story of Richard II's
deposition and Bolingbroke's rise to power. There are
numerous reasons for Richard's fall. He went off to
war and left his kingdom vaulnerable. Richard
disregarded the advice of his elders. He even went
so far as to steal Bolingbroke's inheritance. As
Richard lost the support of the nobles and lords, Bolingbroke gained their support. Bolingbroke used this support to depose king Richard II.
After the banishment of Bolingbroke, Richard quickly gets back to business and makes plans to go to war in Ireland. There are rebels in Ireland and the king must act to suppress them. But the king has little money; the cost of maintaining elaborate court life has taken its toll on the treasury. Richard plans on demanding and borrowing money from the wealthy and even renting out English land. This taxing the English and renting out English land shows a flaw in Richard as a king. He has a willingness to ignore his duty to the country in favor of his personal interests. Selfish kings are bound to be overthrown.
Shortly after decided this Richard gets word that John of Gaunt is on his deathbed. He is elated because he figured an easier way to fund his war. After the death of Gaunt, Richard will claim Gaunt's lands as his own and use Gaunt's wealth for the war. Richard's coldness towards his uncle shows his lack of respect for anybody but himself. This lack of respect will help lead to his downfall.
Gaunt curses Richard upon his deathbed. This curse is a bad omen and a prophesy of Richard's downfall. Richard's foolishness is shown w...
... middle of paper ...
... Richard has nothing. He urges the Queen to travel to London to see for herself.
Act 4 is one long scene describing the deposition of King Richard. Bolingbroke summons Richard so that he may give up his crown. It is important that he do so in front of all the nobles so there is no doubt about Bolingbroke's rise to king. Richard gives his crown to Bolingbroke ever so reluctantly with a long monologue full of grief. "With mine own hands I give away my crown, / With mine own tongue deny my sacred state" (208-9). Richard surrendered his land, crown, and kingship to Bolingbroke. All that is left for Richard to do is read and sign the charges put forth against him. His involvement in the death of Gloucester's was brought into plain view for all. Now that Richard has been deposed, he can be tried for his sin like anyone else.
Gaunt's prophesy has come true.
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