King Richard II Essay

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Although Bolingbroke accepts a crown that legally belongs to Richard, Bolingbroke is often seen in a heroic light, as the man who rescues the kingship and the commonwealth from Richard's weak and ineffective hands. Critics such as Lewis J. Owen (whose essay appears in the Kingship section) and Arthur Suzman (whose essay appears ill the Language, Imagery, and Symbolism section) argue that despite Bolingbroke's political rise, he experiences a personal or spiritual decline. Owen explains that Bolingbroke loses dignity when he takes the crown which is rightfully Richard's.

Barbara J. Baines argues that while some critics have attacked Bolingbroke, Shakespeare presents him in a favorable, sympathetic manner. The play itself does present both sides of Bolingbroke, Baines notes, that of Bolingbroke who acts the king through his deeds, and that of Bolingbroke the traitor. Baines suggests that the former, sympathetic attitude is given more weight in the play...

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This section contains 3,979 words
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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.