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Richard II Identity Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line)

Quote #7

My crown I am, but still my griefs are mine.
You may my glories and my state depose,
But not my griefs; still am I king of those. (4.1.3)

On the verge of giving his crown to Henry Bolingbroke, Richard is exploring the relationship between his identity and his title. Here he tells Henry that even if he seizes power, Henry can't seize or "depose" those parts of Richard that are his regardless of whether or not he is king. Those parts add up, in the end, to grief. Even if his "glories" and his "state" cease to belong to him once Henry becomes king, Richard will still own, and be "king" of, his sadness.

Quote #8

No lord of thine, thou haught insulting man,
Nor no man's lord! I have no name, no title –
No, not that name was given me at the font –
But 'tis usurped. Alack the heavy day,
That I have worn so many winters out
And know not now what name to call myself. (4.1.8)

Here we see just how important the relationship between identity and names or titles is for Richard. When Northumberland calls him "My lord," Richard lashes out – not only because of the hypocrisy (since Northumberland has rebelled against him) but also because he no longer has a clear place in a society structured around hierarchy. In the absence of a title, he's groping for an identity. Disoriented now that he's no longer king, Richard is searching not only for a name but for a sense of self.

Quote #9

An if my word be sterling yet in England,
Let it command a mirror hither straight,
That it may show me what a face I have,
Since it is bankrupt of his majesty. (4.1.8)

This moment occurs after Richard has lost the crown to Henry Bolingbroke. Since Richard locates so much of himself in his role as king, he wonders (perhaps understandably) how the symbolic transformation has manifested itself physically. In other words, he wonders what he looks like now. Here he demands a mirror to inspect himself and see the physical evidence of the losses he's suffered. He's shocked to find his appearance unchanged, because he feels like he's been transformed.

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