Richard II – Shakespeare Review


I really don’t talk about classics enough so I think it’s time to talk about some of the Shakespeare I’ve read this year. First my most recent read. Richard II. I’m gonna be honest with you. I picked up my Complete Pelican Shakespeare just because I wanted to read Richard Ii this time around. I knew I wanted to see the movie because one of my favorite actors play Richard II. I’m obsessed with Ben Whishaw and so I needed to get through the play before watching the film.

I have to say the play did make me pretty excited to see the film. Richard II was another ruler who became too focused on the things that ruling brought him.  He makes some decisions that seem unjust. These actions ultimately lead to him being usurped of his throne. I didn’t fully see Richard as a bad guy in this. He seemed misguided by his notions. The belief that God chose him to rule affects things.

I love Shakespeare’s morally gray characters. Richard makes decisions that don’t really seem at all planned. I really don’t think Richard thinks ahead to the consequences his actions could have or cares. All his decisions are the right ones to him. He sees himself as God’s chosen king. God can’t be wrong so neigh can any of Richard’s actions. It’s probably a fun way to rule. Richard definitely seemed to enjoy it while it lasted. I feel like He’s such a complex character. I really enjoyed following him in this story.

When he banishes Bolingbroke he is somewhat backed into a corner with not many options. I was really rooting for Bolingbroke, though. I love a good revenge story. Take back your fortune and the crown too since everyone is backing you for that now.  he just wanted what was rightfully his. I find it ironic that Richard uses this ideology to convince himself of all the decisions he makes being righteous in order to take away what is rightfully someone else.

I have to question why the people are so quick to rally to Bolingbroke’s side. There are the unjust decisions to look at but I wonder about other things with Richard. He is a King that shies away from violence or sentencing people to death. Instead, he will banish people. At times where it would be best for him to kill them outright. He would have kept his throne much longer if he got rid of Bolingbroke instead of letting him flee for instance. I don’t even fully know where I’m going with this but I just would love to see more theories about Richard and his council.

I love Shakespeare’s language. This play was not an exception. Really nice sounding lines. I can’t wait to watch thew movie and see what the actors do with this play. Especially excited for some of the speeches. The last monologue we get of Richard in particular. So excited to see Ben Whishaw’s delivery.