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Richard II

(Wars of the Roses #1)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  18,951 ratings  ·  1,036 reviews
Written in 1595, Richard II occupies a significant place in the Shakespeare canon, marking the transition from the earlier history plays dominated by civil war and stark power to a more nuanced representation of the political conflicts of England's past where character and politics are inextricably intertwined. It is the first of four connected plays--including 1 Henry IV, ...more
Paperback, 168 pages
Published December 18th 2003 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1595)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Tragedy of King Richard II, William Shakespeare

King Richard the Second is a history play by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in approximately 1595.

It is based on the life of King Richard II of England (ruled 1377–1399) and is the first part of a tetralogy, referred to by some scholars as the Henriad, followed by three plays concerning Richard's successors: Henry IV, Part 1; Henry IV, Part 2; and Henry V.

This play spans only the last two years of Richard's life, from 1398 to 140
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Richard II (Wars of the Roses #1), William Shakespeare

King Richard the Second is a history play by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in approximately 1595.

It is based on the life of King Richard II of England (ruled 1377–1399) and is the first part of a tetra-logy, referred to by some scholars as the Henriad, followed by three plays concerning Richard's successors: Henry IV, Part 1; Henry IV, Part 2; and Henry V.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: سال 1989میلادی

عنوان: تراژدی ریچارد دوم - نمایش
...more
Bill Kerwin
May 12, 2007 rated it really liked it

For the first time, Shakespeare creates a compelling historical protagonist who speaks naturally in a poetic voice that is distinctively his own. In his earlier works involving kings and emperors, Shakespeare imitated Marlowe's "mighty line" with some--if not complete--success (Richard III was inherently Marlovian, which helped) but in Richard II he at last found a king--a weak man but a considerable poet, with an eye for detail--whom he could animate from the inside, a king more comfortable wit
...more
J.L.   Sutton
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading William Shakespeare makes me feel good about what can be accomplished in language! Richard II is fantastic! I’d read Henry IV (both parts) multiple times without realizing that Richard II is considered the first play in the War of the Roses series. Not only does Richard II provide a seamless transition to Henry IV, it also gives some introduction to the ways in which the monarchy was viewed. As such, it serves as a great transition to Shakespeare’s other history plays.

In the play, Richa
...more
Sean Barrs
I’ve read this four times now, and I’ve seen three different versions of it too, yet one thing remains certain throughout, this can be interpreted in so many different ways.

Shakespeare’s wonderful like that; he’ll write a line or a piece of verse that can be taken in so many ways, ultimately, changing the meaning of the play depending on how it is read or adapted. Indeed, Shakespeare doesn’t judge his characters. Instead he portrays them how they may have perceived themselves. To Richard’s mind
...more
Amalia Gkavea
‘’For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings;
How some have been deposed; some slain in war,
Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed;
Some poison’d by their wives: some sleeping kill’d;
All murder’d: for within the hollow crown
That rounds the mortal temples of a king
Keeps Death his court and there the antic sits,
Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp,
Allowing him a breath, a little scene,
To monarchize, be fear’d and kill with looks,
Infusing him
...more
James
Sep 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Book Review
4 out of 5 stars to Richard II, a tragedy or historical account written in 1595 by William Shakespeare. Richard II is the first of a series written about the War of the Roses, a famous tug-of-war over England's throne just prior to Shakespeare's time. This is the most fascinating period of English history for me and I loved reading this play. Though Richard III is my favorite of all the kinds during this era, the circumstance surrounding Richard II's kingdom and power are
...more
Leonard Gaya
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What is power? What does it mean to be a king? What is history about? These are essential questions that Shakespeare tackled again and again through his “Histories” and many of his tragedies, from Julius Caesar to Macbeth and from Coriolanus to Lear. Richard II is no exception and presents yet another turn of the Wheel of Fortune.

After writing the tetralogy of Henry VI (in three parts) and Richard III, Shakespeare wanted to explore the origins of the Wars of the Roses. This, then, is the first
...more
Bradley
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'm on a history kick, so what better way to supplement the immersion into The War Of The Roses than to dive into Shakespeare?

Richard II begins the weakness of kings, where if one could be deposed, yet more can follow. Divine right be damned... should we just rely on might?

It's kind of funny, reading this for the second time after so many years and other historical accounts, just how propagandist this play really is. I suppose that shouldn't be a surprise, since it had only been a little over a
...more
Michael Finocchiaro
Richard II takes place after a significant number of events transpire after the end of King Edward III: the Black Prince has died and left Edward III with no sons alive so his grandson Richard II takes the throne. The English holdings in England are consolidated, but due to the Treaty of Brétigny, the English claim to the French throne has been renounced. For the moment.

The problem with Richard II is that he is not attentive enough to his country and challenged by Henry Bollingbroke and Henry's
...more
Lyn
Mar 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Richard II by William Shakespeare is an unexpected treat.

I have read reviews that say this is a literary precursor to Hamlet and King Lear and I can see it, also semblances of Macbeth. The language is beautifully lyric, with strong speeches and excellent scenes, too many to list here.

Gaunt’s England soliloquy is powerful as is several by the deposed and introspective king, and I especially liked York’s confrontation with Bolingbroke and the rebels. Richard is an extremely complex character and
...more
Darwin8u
Apr 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shakespeare, 2017, drama
"I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.”
-- William Shakespeare, Richard II

description

'Richard II' is a gem. It will never be my favorite, but it is fascinating and finely finished. In many ways it is William Shakespeare meets Machiavelli. Shakespeare wrote eight historical "War of the Roses" plays. They weren't written in order. It is pretty easy, if you are a Star Wars fan, to think of the plays like this. Richard II is = the Phantom Menace. Henry VI, Part 1; Henry VI, Part 2; Henry VI, Part 3; and R
...more
Kai
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“For within the hollow crown
That rounds the mortal temples of a king
Keeps Death his court”


I never thought I would find a Shakespeare play this fascinating. To be honest, I never thought I would read a Shakespeare play in the first place because I thought he was rather overhyped and why are people so obsessed with him anyway? Why is he such a big deal? I think the answer is that there are thousands of questions about him and his works, and all we know is that we will most likely never know their
...more
Trish
Aug 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read Shakespeare before. Sadly, I've never seen it performed but I'm planning on changing that.
Anyway, though I've read some of his plays before, I've never read one of his "Histories" until now. Since it's still History Month though and because Brad and I are doing a bit of research on The Wars of the Roses, this (and a few others) were a must-read.

This play is about the titular King Richard II. And boy was he a weakling! Sorry, but there is no better way to put it. As if the times hadn't
...more
Lisa
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shakespeare
"They love the poison not that do poison need..."

Henry IV, alias Lancaster, alias Bolingbroke and plenty of other names, speaks truth to his own power in the end, admitting that he needed the eloquent incompetent Richard to be dead to grow, while also knowing that his oppenent's death will be a stain on his own power forever after.

What a marvellous study in bad leadership - making one wonder if there is any good one, as Richard and Bolingbroke are so good at being bad in so different ways that
...more
Kelly
This is pretty racy stuff for 1595, you guys. I would've expected as much outrage as over that Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction, but you know, for intellectual reasons. I really don't know how Shakespeare got away with performing this- this play is such stuff as justifications for censorship and treason are made on.

Richard II seems like he was a very unfashionable king in 1595. He was certainly not the notion of a good king at the time- and I wouldn't assume that that was entirely a bad thing.
...more
Aishu Rehman
Feb 09, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Richard II is the only Shakespearean play I've read that was utterly humorless. Not particularly dark, just humorless. No comic relief of any kind; no jokes, no wit. King John, the last history play I've read, might have contained some--I don't recall; but King John is a lesser play anyway, with a king equally as weak (in his way) as Richard but possessing none of Richard's pomp or eloquence. ...more
Roy Lotz
For God’s sake let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings

This play stands out from any other Shakespearean work I know in that, though great, its final effect is rather cold. No character calls out for sympathy, or even pity. Richard II is fascinating but so self-absorbed, and such a ludicrous king, that it is difficult to feel any strong connection to him apart from dissociated curiosity; and Bolingbroke has little character to speak of. Apart from John of Gaunt, w
...more
Ted
Apr 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, elizabethan

Thus play I in one person many people,
And none contented. Sometimes am I King,
Then treasons make me wish myself a beggar,
And so I am. Then crushing penury
Persuades me I was better when a king.
Then am I kinged again.


Here’s a brief chronology of the Kings of England that Shakespeare wrote about, and a few events that occurred in England during these times. Names of monarchs in bold denote Shakespeare’s plays, and the years covered (maybe) in the play.


King John (1199-1216)

1215 – Magna Carta
...more
Jonathan
Apr 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I memorized this as a teen and I still, after all these years, find much in it to return to:



I have been studying how I may compare
This prison where I live unto the world:
And for because the world is populous
And here is not a creature but myself,
I cannot do it; yet I'll hammer it out.
My brain I'll prove the female to my soul,
My soul the father; and these two beget
A generation of still-breeding thoughts,
And these same thoughts people this little world,
In humours like the people of this world,
For
...more
Dave Russell
Mar 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama, classics
Richard's death at the end of act V is nothing short of dragoleon (for an explanation of that term see here:http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...) Three badasses show up in Richard's cell to try and kill him but he's having none of it. He says:

"Villain, thy own hand yields thy death's instrument,"
["Yippy-ki-ay, motherfucker"--my paraphrase]

Richard then snatches an axe from one of the mofos' hand and kills him.

"Go thou and fill another room in hell."
["I'm Richard mothereffing Two. King Kong
...more
Alex
Jul 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
Richard II is one of my favorite histories, partly because the actual events surrounding Richard's fall offer plenty of drama, and partly because of its sheer beauty. Richard is eloquent to a fault - literally; he'd rather give flowery speeches than actually do anything. But what speeches! You almost forget what a moron he is.

But it's the gardener's soliloquy in III.iv that's actually the prettiest, an extended rant about why he should bother weeding the garden when Richard has let pests overrun
...more
Melora
I love this one. Not sure if this is my second or third reading -- GR says I read it last in Nov. 2014, but I feel like I read it last more recently -- but, again, this is a five star play for me. This time I started with Marjorie Garber's chapter on Richard, from her marvelous Shakespeare After All. Her analysis didn't provide any startling insights, but it added to my appreciation of the way Shakespeare's artistry works in this play. Anyway, I just find Richard fascinating. Sure, he's a dreadf ...more
David Sarkies
Sep 08, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tragedy
A Tragedy or a History?
18 September 2011

It is difficult to determine whether Richard II is a tragedy or not. It appears that when Shakespeare first drafted the play he drafted it as a tragedy (and it is one of his earlier plays) however as his folio of plays increased, it fall among his history plays. It should be considered that not all of Shakespeare's plays fall neatly into the categories of tragedy or comedy, and this is particularly the case with his history plays (in particular Henry V).

...more
leynes
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Woo hoo! It's been a while since I read Shakespeare and it truly feels sooo good to be back! I've read the Bard's Wars of the Roses, with the exception of Henry VI, Part 2, and I am happy to report that Richard II is one of the more engaging history plays; first and foremost, because Richard is such a little shithead. This guy is absolutely ridiculous.

The play opens in King Richard's court, as Henry Bolingbroke, son of Gaunt (the Duke of Lancaster), challenges Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk. H
...more
Trevor
Jan 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
As a bit of an Irishman I guess there is a part of me that quite likes the idea of a King of England brought low (at least in part) because of his all too keen singing of ‘yo ho and off we go’ to put those rebellious Irish in their place – and that this might then lead to two centuries of civil war we now refer to as the War of the Roses. As a child of the Enlightenment (now watching that particular sun set into an ocean of fear and superstition) there really ought to be a part of me that cheers ...more
Zachary F.
Thus play I in one person many people,
And none contented. Sometimes am I king.
Then treasons make me wish myself a beggar,
And so I am; then crushing penury
Persuades me I was better when a king.
Then am I kinged again, and by and by
Think that I am unkinged by Bolingbroke,
And straight am nothing. But whate’er I be,
Nor I nor any man that but man is
With nothing shall be pleased till he be eased
With being nothing.

-Richard, act 5, scene 5

This play, one of Shakespeare's early and (today, at least) lesser
...more
WhatIReallyRead
Richard II concludes my 3-plays long William Shakespeare streak, I am going to take a break for a while now. This one I liked less than his other plays.

Perhaps it was because there were so many characters, a lot of them appeared briefly and reappeared much later, and most of them had 2 or 3 different names, which were used alternately. So I had a hard time remembering them, their relationship with each other and following the story. Also, they kept throwing out symmetrical accusations at each o
...more
Terence
Listening to Richard II, I've swung between awarding 2, 3 or 4 stars to it. Initially, the play didn't impress, and the soliloquies seemed overwrought and overlong. However, the persevering soul will find some amazing, four-star-worthy passages, the most famous perhaps being Gaunt's paean to England in Act II, scene i. Another one is found in Act III, scene iv, where a gardener laments the sorry state of the "garden" of England since its caretaker has so neglected it.

It may not be as "accessible
...more
Kirstine
Jun 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, reviewed, own, 1-men
"Cry woe, destruction, ruin and decay:
The worst is death, and death will have his day.
"

Shakespeare is the best. Having read very little of Shakespeare I'm really not the best judge, but I am continuously amazed at his skill. He's a real pleasure to read; he makes me laugh, makes me cry, makes me excited and, most importantly, involved.

With BBC's 'The Hollow Crown' airing soon I thought I'd start my Shakespeare education with those adapted plays - Richard II, Henry IV pt. 1 and 2, and Henry V.

(
...more
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36,655 followers
William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been tr ...more

Other books in the series

Wars of the Roses (8 books)
  • King Henry IV, Part 1
  • Henry IV, Part 2
  • Henry V
  • Henry VI, Part 1
  • King Henry VI, Part 2
  • King Henry VI, Part 3
  • Richard III

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“I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.” 251 likes
“For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings;
How some have been deposed; some slain in war,
Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed;
Some poison'd by their wives: some sleeping kill'd;
All murder'd: for within the hollow crown
That rounds the mortal temples of a king
Keeps Death his court and there the antic sits,
Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp,
Allowing him a breath, a little scene,
To monarchize, be fear'd and kill with looks,
Infusing him with self and vain conceit,
As if this flesh which walls about our life,
Were brass impregnable, and humour'd thus
Comes at the last and with a little pin
Bores through his castle wall, and farewell king!

Act 3, Scene 2”
138 likes
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