William Shakespeare's The Tragedy of King Richard II, first published in a quarto edition in 1597, is the first in a sequence of four history plays known as the second tetrology, which deal with the early phases of a power struggle between the houses of Lancaster and York. The Richard II of the play has been called both mercurial and self-indulgent; however, several sustained soliloquies in the play demonstrate how deeply realized his character is. During one of these soliloquies, which takes place after his imprisonment and before his murder, he seems to rediscover the qualities of pride, trust, and courage that he lost when dethroned-and so goes onward to meet his death with a spirit more powerful than ever before.
The scene (5.5), begins in the keep of Pomfret Castle, where Richard is being held prisoner, and starts on a despondent note as he tries to reconcile his life in prison with the life he led as king:
I have been studying how I may compare
This prison where I live unto the world;
And, for because the world is populous,
And here is not a creature but myself,
I cannot do it. Yet I'll hammer it out. (5.5.1-5)
Despite his despondency, Richard begins to explore how he might live his life out within the microcosm of the keep, and still keep some semblance of his former life. He finds his life in the keep lacking because it is unpeopled. However, the last line indicates a turnabout in this attitude. He is beginning to fight back against the internal forces that threaten to drag him into despair and loneliness when he states, in line five, that he will ìhammer it out.î
Because a king needs a ...
... middle of paper ...
... and the role that time will play henceforth in his life. These realizations have made him stronger, and fortified him against the future, for now he knows that he must depend upon himself, not upon the royal blessings of God.
With Richard's last words, we see the final result of this moment of truth, this self-realization, as he bravely assaults and kills two of his attackers before dying a noble death: ìMount, mount, my soul! thy seat is up on high;/Whilst my gross flesh sinks downward, here to dieî (5.5.111-112).
McKay, John P., Bennett Hill, and John Buckler. A History of World Societies. 3rd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1992. 452-454.
Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of King Richard The Second. William Shakespeare: The Complete Works. Ed. Alfred Harbage. Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1969. 554-667.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Written during a time of peace immediately following the conclusion of the War of the Roses between the Yorks and the Lancasters, William Shakespeare’s play Richard III showcases a multi-faceted master of linguistic eloquence, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, a character who simultaneously manages to be droll, revolting, deadly, yet fascinating. Richard's villainy works in a keen, detestable manner, manifesting itself in his specific use or, rather, abuse of rhetoric. He spends a substantial amount of time directly interacting and therefore breaking the fourth wall and orating to the audience in order to forge a relationship with them, to make members not only his confidants of murderous intenti... [tags: richard, Duke of Gloucester]
1616 words (4.6 pages)
- Throughout most of Richard III, Richard gleefully fills the role of a villain. However, in the final act he speaks to himself after a nightmare and reveals a hidden vulnerability that isn’t shown anywhere else in the play. Examining the ways in which the rhythm and syntax of his speech are altered in this soliloquy allows for a greater understanding of Richard’s character. First, the soliloquy demonstrates Richard’s mental and emotional deterioration over the course of the play. He begins with, “Now is the winter of our discontent/Made glorious summer by this son of York,/And all the clouds that loured upon our house/In the deep bosom of the ocean buried (I.i 1-4).... [tags: Literary Analysis ]
1946 words (5.6 pages)
- Vision of Evil in Richard III and Macbeth Shakesperae’s play Macbeth is in some respects a relatively simple play. Like Richard III its’ structure follows a standard conventional form: the rise and fall of a great man. The first part of the play follows Macbeth's rise to power. By 3.1 he has assumed the kingship. The rest of the play follows the disintegration of all he has achieved, a process that culminates with his death and the installment of new king. In that sense, there is very little difference in the structure between Richard III and Macbeth.... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
1426 words (4.1 pages)
- Richard's Loss of Self in Richard III The attack of "conscience" that King Richard suffers in Act 5, Scene 5 of Shakespeare's Richard III (133-157) can be seen as the psychological climax of the drama, one that is critical to both Richard's development as a character and the play's ultimate success. Richard's struggle to reconcile the many different roles he attempts to play into one unified self, reflected in the tone and composition of his speech, adds depth and humanity to his character; at the same time, his ultimate failure to maintain his "self-made" identity simplifies the play in a way that allows the author to satisfy his audience by punishing the villain and reaffirmi... [tags: Richard II Richard III Essays]
1332 words (3.8 pages)
- The real tragedy of Richard III lies in the progressive isolation of its protagonist. From the very opening of the play when Richard III enters "solus", the protagonist's isolation is made clear. Richard's isolation progresses as he separates himself from the other characters and breaks the natural bonds between Man and nature through his efforts to gain power. The first scene of the play begins with a soliloquy, which emphasizes Richard's physical isolation as he appears alone as he speaks to the audience.... [tags: Richard II Richard III Essays]
1206 words (3.4 pages)
- Search for Identity in Richard II Shakespeare's Richard II tells the story of Richard's fall from power. Being dethroned by Bolingbroke forces Richard to confront the limitations and nature of his power as king. As audience members, we follow Richard on his journey of self-discovery, which enlightens him even as his life is shattered by Bolingbroke's revolt. Paradoxically, it is in utter defeat that Richard comes closest to understanding what it is to be human. Unfortunately he is unable to accept life as an ordinary subject after having tasted what it means to rule.... [tags: Richard II Richard III Essays]
1655 words (4.7 pages)
- Narcissism and Metadrama in Richard II Over the last thirty years, Shakespeare criticism has demonstrated a growing awareness of the self-reflexive or metadramatic elements in his works. Lionel Abel’s 1963 study, Metatheatre: A New View of Dramatic Form, provided perhaps the first significant analysis of the ways in which Shakespeare thematizes theatricality, in the broadest sense of the term, in his tragedies, comedies, and histories. In his discussion of Hamlet, he makes the observation—perhaps a bit commonplace and obvious to us thirty years later—that the famous “play within a play” is only the most blatant example of self-conscious technique found throughout the tragedy: once w... [tags: Richard II Richard III Essays]
2813 words (8 pages)
- Shakespeare on Machiavelli: The Prince in Richard III According to many, Shakespeare intentionally portrays Richard III in ways that would have the world hail him as the ultimate Machiavel. This build up only serves to further the dramatic irony when Richard falls from his throne. The nature of Richard's character is key to discovering the commentary Shakespeare is delivering on the nature of tyrants. By setting up Richard to be seen as the ultimate Machiavel, only to have him utterly destroyed, Shakespeare makes a dramatic commentary on the frailty of tyranny and such men as would aspire to tyrannical rule.... [tags: Richard II Richard III Essays Shakespeare]
1505 words (4.3 pages)
- “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” Mignon McLaughlin William Shakespeare: “Juliet’s Soliloquy”: Romeo and Juliet “Juliet’s Soliloquy” was written by William Shakespeare around 1595. William Shakespeare, the Great Stratford Bard, was an English poet and playwright. Shakespeare’s legendary works were the product of his life experiences that reveals why he chose this career. Although Shakespeare is known for many of his poems, “Juliet’s Soliloquy” from Romeo and Juliet, has many illustrative characteristics such as love, fear, passion, and hate.... [tags: Shakespeare]
1462 words (4.2 pages)
- Hamlet's world is crashing rapidly down over his head as the era of Old King Hamlet comes to an end and the era of Claudius comes into being. The world has not allotted Hamlet a moment to grieve before his mother and the kingdom has moved on without him. His mother has remarried to what he believes is a villain. Without being able to return to Wittenberg, Hamlet no longer has an escape from his problems. The ideals, religious beliefs, and family have betrayed. With his father dead and his mother a villain's whore, he has no one to confide in.... [tags: Hamlet First Soliloquy]
310 words (0.9 pages)