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Group Readings > Richard II - March 2011

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message 1: by scherzo♫ (new)

scherzo♫ (pjreads) | 270 comments We are reading Richard II during March:
Act I - 27 FEB to 5 MAR
Act II - 6 MAR to 12 MAR
Act III - 13 MAR to 19 MAR
Act IV - 20 MAR to 26 MAR
Act V - 27 MAR to 2 APR


Looking forward to your thoughts, quotes and insights.


message 2: by Jaime (new)

Jaime (janastasiow) | 7 comments I'm in:)

I haven't read Shakespeare in so long. I'm looking forward to it, and I like the Act a week. I hated having to do a play a week in college, it was too much.


message 3: by scherzo♫ (new)

scherzo♫ (pjreads) | 270 comments Act I

The iambic pentameter pulses under the ceremony (the Marshall's repetitions remind me of swearing in witnesses in a court room) and adds punch to the insults (so much "spit" LOL).

The emphasis on Bolingbroke's "royal blood" sets him close to Richard on the "Chain of Being." There's a contrasting undercurrent of an awareness of Richard's being just as human as the rest of his age-peers who have watched him grow up.

Fascinating interplay between Bolinbroke and Gaunt as son and powerful, demanding father ... plus another contrast with Richard who was an infant when his father died.

Part of what I enjoy in the history plays is the family relationships and fighting.


message 4: by Jaime (new)

Jaime (janastasiow) | 7 comments I found it interesting that Richard decided to call it off at the last minute. I think this was something he put thought into and then finally decided to say something rather than it being an impulsive act.


message 5: by Silvia (new)

Silvia Frassineti | 6 comments Hello, I have been on Goodreds for some time,but never posted, I am Italian and my English isn't good enough, but Shakespeare is my favorite writer so I would like to take part in this discussion. Richard ,from the first scene bore proudly and showed his arbitrariness.He was still in command but he feared Bolingbroke's familiar courtesy with people, he banished him because he could be very dangerous for his power, but when Gaunt is dying he forgot any caution and stole the inheritance for his war and for his friends.


message 6: by scherzo♫ (new)

scherzo♫ (pjreads) | 270 comments Hi Silvia,

I'm so glad you're joining our discussion!
Your English is excellent (about all I can say in Italian is ciao)


message 7: by Silvia (new)

Silvia Frassineti | 6 comments Only Ciao? Are you sure? Nothing like pizza or piano?
I'm joking of course. about language what wanderful way to regret his own country from Mowbry when he is bannished.
"What is thy sentence then but speechless death,
which robs my tongue from brathing native breath?"


message 8: by scherzo♫ (new)

scherzo♫ (pjreads) | 270 comments Mowbry's lament for English is so heart-felt. It always touches my heart.


message 9: by Bee (new)

Bee | 2 comments I'm doing an essay on Richard II's family relationships. Any tips on who and what to write?


message 10: by scherzo♫ (last edited Mar 06, 2011 08:07AM) (new)

scherzo♫ (pjreads) | 270 comments His uncle, John of Gaunt, is a fascinating figure who fathered two families simultaneously and after his wife died granted his second set of sons similar elevated status ("royal blood") as the first set. All of them cause a lot of England's problems during the reign of Henry VI (another king put on the throne as an infant).

A good source of background information for Shakespeare's history plays is Shakespeare's English Kings: History, Chronicle, and Drama by Peter Saccio. This book compares the current historical perspective to Shakespeare's stories (based on contemporary historical perspective and Tudor propaganda).


message 11: by Bee (new)

Bee | 2 comments Thanks :)


message 12: by scherzo♫ (new)

scherzo♫ (pjreads) | 270 comments ACT II

I find that my knowledge of John of Gaunt from other sources makes it hard to appreciate Shakespeare's art in this act.

Reading Gaunt's anthem to England as his heartfelt purpose creates a clear contrast to Richard's selfish use of his inherited position and his greedy arrogation of Bolingbroke's inheritance.

Shakespeare shows Richard as both a weak private person and weak in his public role as king. York's struggle with his conscience spells out the dilemna rising from Richard's unlawful action.
"Take Hereford's rights away, and take from Time
His charters and his customary rights:
Let not tomorrow then ensue today;
Be not thyself, for how art thou a king
But by fair sequence and succession?"



message 13: by Silvia (new)

Silvia Frassineti | 6 comments Richard was both weak and disdainful in his role as king, he despised nobles and commons and even his flatters was scared by the hate of people.

"The commons hath he pilled with grevious taxes,
And quite lost rheir hearts. The nobles hath he fined
For ancient quareels, and quite lost their hearts."

In fact Rchard was "the king's grown bankrupt like a broken man"

Just another comment abuot the Queen she appeared for the first time in this II act like a woman in love with the king and she could share and foresee fears and sorrow for the coming situation


message 14: by Silvia (new)

Silvia Frassineti | 6 comments Sorry I didn't finish my sentence I wanted to say:
that Shakespeare show the Queen as a woman but Isabel was a child nine years old when Richard died


message 15: by Geoff (new)

Geoff (wwwgoodreadscomchiltsy) Hi. Only just joined this group. I'll have to catch up with your reading of Richard II.


message 16: by scherzo♫ (new)

scherzo♫ (pjreads) | 270 comments Welcome Geoff, we'll be glad to see your thoughts on Richard.


message 17: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 85 comments Silvia wrote: "Sorry I didn't finish my sentence I wanted to say:
that Shakespeare show the Queen as a woman but Isabel was a child nine years old when Richard died"


Yes, Shakespeare is well known for changing around historical facts to improve the dramatic tensions of his works.


message 18: by Silvia (new)

Silvia Frassineti | 6 comments Shakespeare is well known for his metaphors too. At the beginning of ActIII Richard self-confident in his power and in his right to be king compare himself to the sun arising that can win any rebellion as thieves naked from the cloak of the night.At the end of the second scene after a list of bad news is
"Richard's nights to Bolingbroke's fair day".
From this moment Richard is not only a king but a man, Shakespeare shows us his loneliness and his sorrow. From this moment I start to share his feelings as a tragic hero, thanks even his lyric lines.


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