Shakespeare Essay

Shakespeare Essay

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William Shakespeare often examines the personal transformation of characters in his works. His frequent illustrations of changing players most likely suggests that he is a true believer in the idea of people being able to emotionally grow. Moreso, the author essentially endorses the thought of developing humanity as a living being. Parallel to King Richard in Richard II, he illustrates many characters throughout his works whom undergo similar personal growth. Oftentimes these personal changes occur when a character suffers great loss in life. In this particular play these changes give the readers a chance to develop a bit of fondness in the once ignorant king. Most readers would normally accept positive changes within the mind and soul of characters. In Richard II, Shakespeare depicts the personal stages of King Richard. Ultimately, Richard is illustrated as one who finally embraces humanity, and, in turn, affects the readers’ final response to the ever-changed king in a positive way.
In the commencement of the play, Richard is an arrogant leader who simply wants the title of king, and disregards any civil duties he should be regulating. The reader response is collectively negative during the beginning acts because he is inconsiderate of others and does nothing to help the welfare of his own country. He believes that his god-given rights to rule place him above all others. With this mindset he rationalizes acts of ill-favored behavior and a lack of true monarchial control. As Henry Bolingbroke and Thomas Mowbray feud and hope to settle their differences in a battle, Richard initially approves of the idea. However, at the actual time and venue he calls it off after selfishly discovering if either man is killed it will...


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...n, but insinuates seven years of bad luck according to most cultural superstitions. In turn, this bad luck represents his foreseeable death. The king has finally evolved into a normal, feeling man.
Throughout these different stages that Richard experiences, the reader reactions change as well. Although there is negative feedback throughout the first half, it seems as if Richard’s character is supposed to slowly elicit sympathy from the reader. In a journal article Paula Blank asserts, “Richard seems, for some readers, to emerge as the victim rather than the perpetrator of a crime.” (Blank, 328). By cleverly assuming the position of victim by the end, the King captures the emotions and feelings of many readers; thus, William Shakespeare orchestrates riveting transformations for King Richard in Richard II, and in return creates evolving reactions from the reader.

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