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ENG220Y1 - Richard II - Lecture Notes.docx

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Elizabeth Harvey

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  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 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  (1.2.37-41) o Displaces the responsibility of avenging Gloucester's death upon god to correct the wrong doings of the appointed one o By doing nothing, he allows for injustice to continue o Difficult as a subject to decide when to oppose authority and the divine o Demonstrates passivity  (1.3.1-25) o Formal procedures of the trial o Both Mowbray and Bolingbroke wearing amor and need to distinguish themselves  (1.3.119-167) o Both are banished from the state o "dear exile" evokes nostalgia of leaving behind the home o "pain of life" is an eternal suffering from being exiled forever for Mowbray o Mowbray expresses sadness to being unable to use his english language when in exile; can't communicate how he will be unable to speak anymore; feels jailed although he technically isn't; his body and mouth is jailed because he won't be able to use them as a medium to communicate o A speech about the beauty and power of language o Compares his unused mouth and tongue to an unplayed instrument  (1.3.201-225) o "one word" evokes the power of the king and what he can do or order o Gaunt argues that even a king with "divine powers" cannot extend someone's life; shows the deficiencies in this mode of thinking  ( o Fatherly advice, can't control what's happening, one must just deal with it o Addressing that Bolingbroke could pretend to be in control of his own destiny o A speech of comfort  (1.4.36-63) o "farm our royal realm" - harvesting taxes, Richard is making the State Farm what he needs o Sinister way of thinking o Richard wants Gaunt to die to use his estate to fund his war against the Irish o Appropriating the estate is the catalyst for Bolingbroke's rebellion against Richard Act Two:  (2.1.1-30) o Musical image, during death is when more people listen to you o Gaunt wants to make Richard realize his wrong doings but the Duke of the York disagrees, argues that the king is too influenced by the flatters who advice him incorrectly; argues that Richard is vain, consumed with demonstrating his power than actually using his power for good; he's interested in the exterior and the fashions of Italy o A moment of nationalism, distinguishe
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