King Richard II Modern Connections

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At first glance, the world of Richard II appears to have little in common with ours. The play itself is written entirely in formal, often rhyming, lines of poetic verse rather than in the prose which today's audiences are used to hearing. Also unfamiliar to modern audiences is Richard's preoccupation with divine right, a doctrine which holds that a king's fitness to rule is determined by God only and not by the people. As Richard puts it when he feels his authority as ruler is being questioned:

Show us the hand of God
That hath dismiss'd us from our stewardship,
For well we know no hand of blood and bone
Can gripe the sacred handle of our sceptre,
Unless he do profane, steal, or usurp.
(III.iii.77-81)




(As king—whether divinely appointed or not— Richard speaks for the nation as a whole, and that is why he...

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This section contains 696 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the King Richard II Study Guide
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Shakespeare for Students
King Richard II from Shakespeare for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.