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Lecture

ENG220Y1 Lecture Notes - Phlegm, Optical Illusion, Signify


Department
English
Course Code
ENG220Y1
Professor
Elizabeth Harvey

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ENG220Y1 LECTURE NOTES
October 9, 2013
Richard II
Introduction:
Names of characters and the people of this time derived from their origins in England, from
inheritance, and from the king who gives his subjects' names
The monarch could strip away titles
The monarch obtained money through taxes and were dispersed according to what needed
to be funded
Richard II is a descendant of Edward III, his father was Edward the Black Prince (the eldest
son), who predeceased his father by a year in 1376; Richard II ascended the throne at 10
years old in 1377, but due to his age, the uncles governed the state
Sons of Edward III mentioned in the play:
o Edward, Prince of Wales
o John of Gaunt
The Duke of Lancaster
The father of Henry Bolingbroke
o Thomas
Duke of Gloucester
Murdered by Mowbray for Richard II
o Edmund
Duke of York
The father of Amuerle
Richard II believes that his role as king is a divine duty, was chosen by God
Bolingbroke is more of a socialist, thinking of the common people and their concerns
Shakespeare looking at his own history of England for the basis of his play and his current
political situation in England

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Focusing on the Peasant Revolt during Shakespeare's time
o After a period of plague and sacristy, a tax was being imposed and so the peasants
who were already having trouble surviving with what little they had, decided to revolt
against the monarchy
o 1642-49, ended with the execution of the anointed king as decided by the parliament
Personalities and motivations and perceptions about what a King should be, between
Richard and Bolingbroke is different from one another
Questions about the power of the monarch; should it focus on the needs of its people or
should it sovereign over the entire state?
Sources of the Play:
Main source was Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland
Histories are told in ideological perspectives, are shaped by these perspectives
The history play in told in the perspective of the Tudor Era
Tetralogies:
The first is 3 Henry VI plays, Richard III
The second is Henry IV, Part One and Two, Richard II and Henry V; going back in time
before the Tudor Period
Medieval Political Ideologies and Theologies:
The belief that the king had two bodies
One is the natural body, possess physical attributes, suffers, and dies, like human beings
The second is a spiritual body, transcends the earthly and serves as a symbol of his office;
symbol of the divine, of god's will; extends kingship beyond the body; the king represents
the divine and its authority
Believed during the early modern period and the Middle Ages of Western Europe
"the tragedy of Richard II is the tragedy of two bodies"
Political Dynamics during Shakespeare's time:
Earl of Essex's supporters commissioned a performance of the play in support of the 1601
rebellion
Elizabeth I: "I am Richard II. Know you not that?"
The queen during that time had list favour amongst her people
Earl wanted to overpower the queen
Emulates the rebellion that Bolingbroke ensues against Richard
The Earl was beheaded and accused for treason
Act One:
(1.1.1-19)
o Mentions "hear" and "deaf", contradictory, will the king actually listened
o "the accuser" and "accused" demonstrates who will be the antagonist and the
protagonist of the play
o Imagery of fire, rage and the sea; their anger is rash and uncontrollable; could
describe each character separately
o There's a disconnect with his speech, seems he already has an opinion
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o "high stomach" and "full" could describe their uncontrollable thoughts against once
another
o Displays the theatrical of power
o The use of plural, "ourselves", shows the syntactical representation of the king's two
bodies, himself and god; his association with the divine
o Language demonstrates a mirror, or duality
o The blank verse sections elevates the king and when he's addressing others, he uses
rhyme; distinguishes social classes
o Rhyme is marriage of sound; "ire" (anger) is a part of "fire"; are paired as if anger
fuels the fire
o Face to face duels, demonstrates the joust and tournaments during Richard's rule;
highly symbolic, used to decide right; a divine trial in which god will decide which
horse, weapons or equipment is stronger; divine right to choose the winner
(1.120-46)
o Waring language against one another to determine who flatters the king the best
o Even though Bolingbroke is using language to speak his accusations, he simply wants
to get physical
(1.1.47-83)
o A literal throwing of the gage, but it's also shown in Bolingbroke's language
o A symbol mark of challenge
(1.1.84-123)
o Blood signifies lineage connections, titles and power
o Mowbray believes that Richard will privilege Bolingbroke over him because they are
cousins
o Bolingbroke accuses Mowbray of raising money for his own army, of conspiracy,
and of plotting Gloucester's death; he is bound by blood to avenge his uncle's death;
he's acting because he knows that Richard had a part in this plot
o Questions where to get money and how to use it
o Richard evokes his appointed role as king and being connected to the divine;
demonstrates the divine power he has; his soul is connected
o Bolingbroke is a man of action, replaces his tongue with his sword; whereas Richard
is the dreamer
(1.1.124-164)
o A hap-hazard trial going on with the king
o Rhyming at the end of Richard's speech entails that a reconciliation should be
conceived, pairing the two antagonist together
o Metaphor of blood and sickness and healing of the physician which relates to the two
bodies; when bodies lose their own governance ad begin to weaken and decay
o Humors: blood, phlegm, yellow bile (jaundice), black bile (melancholy and
depression); the four existed in an equilibrium and if there was an imbalance,
methods such as change in diet, exercising and bloodletting via leeches and cutting
were used
o Metaphor regarding anger constructed like an incision
(1.2.1-36)
o Lineage of kinship associated with lineage of family
o Duchess Gloucester uses speed/tree imagery and metaphor
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