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The Tragedy of King Richard II Day Three ENGL 305 Dr. Fike.

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Presentation on theme: "The Tragedy of King Richard II Day Three ENGL 305 Dr. Fike."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Tragedy of King Richard II Day Three ENGL 305 Dr. Fike

2 Assignment Due Please turn in your annotated bibliographies. Write your focused topic at the top of your first page.

3 Questions from Day Two Let’s finish our discussion.

4 Review R2 overplays his hand by confiscating Gaunt’s estate and by essentially disinheriting Bolingbroke. Violation of primogeniture. Hamartia (error, mistake; not tragic flaw); R2’s = overemphasis on divine right. He will use this money to pay for sending his army to Ireland to put down the uprising. Cf. Henry IV’s advice to Prince Hal in 2H : “to busy giddy minds / With foreign quarrels.” The frequent references to time in R2 suggest that the king must act in the medium of time. Kingship is not a timeless ideal. Three views of Richard (next slide).

5 Three Views of Richard re. Question 18 From John R. Elliott, Jr.’s “History and Tragedy in Richard II”: –Yorkist view (balanced but favorable to R2): “while not denying Richard’s weaknesses, [it] saw Bolingbroke’s usurpation as a political crime committed for selfish motives rather than for the public good.” –Lancastrian view (House of Lancaster = Bolingbroke’s people: anti-R2): Richard is “an incompetent and corrupt ruler”; Bolingbroke is “the savior of England.” –“Richardian” view (anti-Bol, pro-R2): Richard is “a saint and a blameless martyr intimidated, deposed, and murdered by an ambitious and unprincipled political.” R2 is comparable to Christ himself ( , ). POINT: All three views are present in R2.

6 Chronology Challenge Put the following in the right order: –Deposition scene (пет) –Bolingbroke claims his inheritance and vows to slay the “caterpillars.” (едно) –Richard’s murder (шест) –Bolingbroke openly admits his desire. (четири) –Bolingbroke vows to obey Richard if he gets his inheritance. (две) –Richard concedes defeat. (три)

7 Correct Chronology Bolingbroke claims his inheritance and vows to slay the “caterpillars” ( , ). Subtle implication: Bolingbroke vows to obey Richard if he gets his inheritance ( ). Bol sends R to the tower: B’s intention is not clear. Richard concedes defeat ( ). Bolingbroke openly admits his desire ( ). Deposition scene (4.1). R abdicates at ff. He will go to the Tower ( ). B mentions his coronation ( ). Richard’s murder (5.5)

8 List of Passages Related To Bolingbroke’s Ambition Check out these passages on your own Main point: incremental revelation of H4’s , intentions

9 POINTS Bolingbroke is dead wrong to seize the throne. –See Troilus and Cressida (next slide; cf. Bedford Companion ): “degree” = hierarchical order. –Key concept: The Great Chain of Being. See For the same reason, Richard is also wrong to seize Bolingbroke’s inheritance. In doing so, Richard is violating one of the principles on which kingship is based: primogeniture.

10 T&C O, when degree is shaked, Which is the ladder of all high designs, The enterprise is sick. How could communities, Degrees in schools, and brotherhoods in cities, Peaceful commerce from dividable shores, The primogeniture and due of birth, Prerogative of age, crowns, scepters, laurels, But by degree stand in authentic place? Take but degree away, untune that string, And hark what discord follows.

11 Points It is impossible for Bolingbroke to return from exile to claim his inheritance yet stop short of seizing the throne. If he understands this, then he is play acting after his return from exile (political theater).

12 Summary Richard: overly emotional, nearly hysterical; relies too much on others; views kingship as a timeless ideal and considers office the key thing. Bolingbroke: realistic, resourceful, efficient; thinks that kingship is about power; knows the role of appearances in political theater.

13 Group Activity: 15 minutes Work in your previously assigned groups for 10 minutes to generate the following things about your passages: Prepare your passage, using some combination of the following: –First, my questions (posted on the course calendar). –Second, TTCAQD method (give your passage a title; then identify a theme, the content, an affect/emotion, and a question to discuss with the class). –Third, the elements of critical thinking (context, point of view, question at issue, purpose, assumptions, concepts, information, implications and consequences, conclusions and interpretations, and alternatives) Work in your assigned groups to analyze the following key passages: 1.Gaunt’s speech: (images, esp. Eden; cf. lines ) 2.Richard’s attitude/opinions: (divine right, the sun) 3.Garden scene/video: 3.4 (political allegory) 4.Richard’s speech in the Tower: (biblical allusions, images, music, time, R’s thoughts)

14 Gaunt’s Speech in 2.1 What does Gaunt mean when he calls England “This other Eden, demi-paradise”? You may want to reference What images do you find in Gaunt’s speech? Identify as many as you can. What advice does Gaunt try to give Richard at lines ? Factoid: Gaunt had been England’s regent and had ruled the country when R2 was younger.

15 Richard’s Attitude in 3.2 What does Richard believe about the earth here? About kingship? What is ironic about his statements? See How do you evaluate Richard’s attitude? How does his attitude change at ? What about ? What is Richard’s point about the sun? If time allows, track down some of the play’s other references to the sun: ff., , Can you make a connection to the time imagery at ?

16 Contrast : England = Bol’s “mother and my nurse that bears me yet!” : “This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings”; Gaunt also gets it right ff.: “As a long-parted mother with her child…MY EARTH” (emphasis added); Richard is wrong.

17 References to the Sun : “That sun” : “The setting sun” : “The sun sets weeping” : “the blushing discontented sun” : “the fiery portal of the east” : “glistering Phaëthon” : “Bolingbroke’s fair day” : “that fair sun” : “From sun to sun” : “years of sunshine days” : “the sun of Bolingbroke” : “like the sun”

18 The Garden Scene in 3.4 What literary technique does this scene illustrate? What is the gardener’s basic point? What does the Queen mean by England’s “second fall,” and who is “old Adam”? What is ironic about Bolingbroke’s role? You may want to reference

19 Richard’s Final Speech, 5.5 What does Richard say about the nature of thoughts? What is Richard thinking about? Does he identify a contradiction in Christian doctrine? What are the prominent images in the passage? How does his speech further our discussion of time? When Richard dies, is he confident of his salvation? Ultimately, how does he imagine himself? Not as a king but as a what? What insight(s) has he achieved? END


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