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Richard II Suffering Quotes

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

Quote #4

Our sighs and they shall lodge the summer corn
And make a dearth in this revolting land. (3.3.4)

Richard fantasizes that his suffering will somehow be transformed into an act of revenge: his sighs and tears will cause a famine and punish the land.

Quote #5

Richard: Now is this golden crown like a deep well
That owes two buckets, filling one another,
The emptier ever dancing in the air,
The other down, unseen and full of water.
That bucket down and full of tears am I,
Drinking my griefs while you mount up on high. (4.1.2)

In this metaphor, Richard links Henry Bolingbroke's luck to his own. In contrast to his former inability to see himself as separate from the crown, here he talks about the crown as if it were an independent thing, a well that fills either his or Henry's "bucket," but not both. In other words, when one bucket is full, the other is empty. One unexpected aspect of the metaphor is that the crown fills the buckets not with power or luck, as we might expect, but with suffering. Henry's good fortune is due to the fact that his bucket is "up" and therefore empty, while Richard's is heavy and low, because it's full of tears.

Quote #6

Mine eyes are full of tears; I cannot see.
And yet salt water blinds them not so much
But they can see a sort of traitor here. (4.1.7)

Suffering in this play often leads the sufferer to suddenly see the truth. Richard has by all accounts spent most of his tenure as king "blind" to the treason around him. In fact, he prefers to be surrounded by liars who tell him whatever he wants to hear, even if it damages his position in the kingdom. Having just lost his crown, Richard recognizes that, although his vision might be physically blurred (because he's crying), he's actually seeing clearly for the fist time. He recognizes (a little late, it's true) that the people surrounding him are traitors.

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