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Richard II

Richard II

Richard II Analysis

Literary Devices in Richard II

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

The history plays (especially Richard II and Henry IV Part 1) read like an armchair traveler's guide and a mini-geography lesson all rolled into one. You know what that means, right? It's time to p...

Genre

Richard II straddles two different literary genres: the Shakespearean tragedy (think Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet) and the history play (think Henry IV Part 1, Henry IV Part 2, and Henry V).How is it...

Tone

Strap on your emotional seatbelts, Shmoopsters, because the tone is all over the place in this play. (Think about your favorite roller coaster ride at Six Flags and then multiply by three.) The pla...

Writing Style

We've said it before and we'll say it again: Willy Shakespeare wrote most of his plays in a combination of verse (poetry) and prose (the way we talk every day). In general, the upper class characte...

What's Up With the Title?

What's up with the title? You know the answer to this. There's a king named Richard II... but he won't be a king for long. That's why the publishers of the first quarto edition of the play (printed...

What's Up With the Ending?

If we were going to rank the ending of this play on a Bummer Scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the biggest downer ever, we'd give Richard II a 9. It's not as dark as, say, King Lear, but it's right u...

Tough-o-Meter

(7) Snow LineYou may have heard that reading Richard II can be a little tough. But don't panic, because you don't need a Ph.D. in medieval history or be fluent in Elizabethan English to get this pl...

Plot Analysis

Medieval smackdown!Gloucester has been murdered and there's unrest and bitterness in the court. Bolingbroke accuses Mowbray of being responsible. Richard tries to mediate between them, but it doesn...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Note: Like a lot of scholars, Christopher Booker identifies Richard II as a tragedy, but the play also falls into the genre of history play, so be sure to go read "Genre" when you're done here.Rich...

Three-Act Plot Analysis

Gloucester has been murdered. Richard banishes both Mowbray and Bolingbroke and refuses to listen to any good advice. He's run through all the money his ancestors collected, so when John of Gaunt d...

Trivia

In 1995, actress Fiona Shaw (a.k.a. Aunt Petunia Dursley in the Henry Potter flicks and the witch Marnie in Season 4 of True Blood) played the role of Richard II in a National Theater production, w...

Steaminess Rating

There's absolutely no sex in this play. Unless you count the fact that Henry accuses Bushy and Green of having had sex with King Richard. Check it out:You have in manner with your sinful hoursMade...

Allusions

"Would he not stumble? would he not fall down, / Since pride must have a fall, and break the neck / Of that proud man that did usurp his back?" (5.5.4): This is a big shout-out to Proverbs 16.18:...

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