King Richard II Themes & Symbolism

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Shakespeare's examination of kingship in Richard II focuses mainly on the conflict between the legal and divine right to rule, and the effectiveness of the ruler.

Many critics agree that in Richard II, King Richard is legally the rightful king; that he is commonly recognized by other characters in the playas having die divine right to rule; and that despite these rights, King Richard does not show himself to be an effective ruler. It is this opposition between Richard's right to rule and his failure to do so effectively that is the subject of much critical debate. In addition to examining this conflict within the play, some critics conjecture that the way in which Shakespeare presents these issues reflects his thoughts on the rule of the monarch who served during Shakespeare's lifetime: Queen Elizabeth. It has been noted that Bolingbroke and Richard both represent aspects of kingship...

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This section contains 889 words
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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.