Shakespeare Essay

1743 words - 7 pages

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 threaten his personal well-being. He proclaims, “Wrath-kindled gentlemen, be ruled by me.” (1.1.152). This proves to be one of his first statements that allow the reader to view his belief in divine rights to rule, and that he simply loves the authority that has been given to him. Richard realizes that for either man to win, it would not be in his best personal interest. He proceeds to banish both Bolingbroke and Mowbray, which portrays his dismissive attitude. Thus, he does not want to actually deal with any occurring problems that he is supposed to, but simply hold the title of king and flatter his supporters (who are, in turn, out to overrule him). Being the pinnacle of hierarchy in his country, he does nothing to help with the problems that are arising. Instead of implementing ways to help people he pouts and whines, which obviously do not help the reader to respond positively towards him.
Another example of his belief in divine rights is shown by his repetitive reference to himself as “we.” Richard states, “We were not born to sue, but to command; which since we cannot do to make you friends.” (2.1.196-197). The “we” reference is merely the metaphysical expression for his office as king (essentially...

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