William Shakespeare's The Life And Death Of Richard The Second

1272 WordsAug 15, 20166 Pages
William Shakespeare’s The Life and Death of Richard the Second, exhibits many notable monologues from predominantly male characters with the Bishop of Carlisle’s prophetic denouncing of Kind Richard’s legitimacy to the crown in Act IV Scene 1 being one of the most noteworthy; however, the incarcerated Richard’s penultimate speech, and the play’s last soliloquy, is arguably the most important speech of the play’s namesake character. In it, Richard the Second describes his current state of affairs and laments the failures of his office and person. This speech operates as one of, if not the most, emotionally revealing as to Richard’s character. This soliloquy works as a precursor to the scene of Richard’s demise at the hands of Exton. The…show more content…
However, paradoxically it also marks the final descent from ruler of the people to one who peoples his own mind due to an absence of physical company. This solitude allows him to ‘study’ which has two separate meanings in its use. Firstly it signifies Richard’s melancholy and incessant dwelling, but more importantly, it signifies that Richard is seeking betterment. Through the course of the soliloquy, he is learning to express himself with a precise articulateness that was absent from the early stages of the play. The opening lines, whilst establishing the theme of isolation, also set the tone for Richard’s death by creating the setting of the play’s final moments. However, this theme of death, the consequent tones of despair and religious repentance, are instilled mostly through its reference to the warning the usurped monarch received previously from the Bishop of Carlisle. When made privy to the intentions of Richard II’s plans to take the throne the Bishop questioned his eligibility and cited the consequences of a biblical magnitude. The Bishop alludes to an image of a land that will have blood for manure and the generations yielded from it being lost to damnation. This relates directly to the biblical theme Shakespeare includes in the final monologue of Act V Scene 5. In this monologue, Richard alludes to ‘a
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