• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Divine Right of Kings Implied in the Bishop of Carlisle's Speech in Richard II

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Divine Right of Kings Implied in the Bishop of Carlisle's Speech in Richard II Shakespeare's Tragedy of King Richard II drips with references to the divine right of kings and the appropriate response of passive obedience by a king's subjects, as it explores the implications of Richard's involvement in the murder of Thomas of Woodstock, Duck of Gloucester, and Bolingbroke's revenge for that murder: the overthrowing of King Richard II. Numerous characters speak of the strong parallel between God and the king, but none approach the subject quite as directly as the Bishop of Carlisle does in his speech condemning Bolingbroke's acceptance of Richard's invitation to ascend the throne in Act IV, scene 1 of the play. ...read more.

Middle

This proclamation demonstrates that the position he is taking is a moral position, one that should be addressed to Christians by church officials. In fact, Bevington informs in his introduction to Richard II that parishioners were familiar with the doctrine, "for they heard it in church periodically in official homilies against rebellion" (722). Therefore, Carlisle is clearly not out of line in speaking to the issue. He asserts that none of the present nobility is really noble, as they do not have "forbearance from so foul a wrong" (121) as to "show so heinous, black, obscene a deed" as to judge their king, much less when he is not even present (132). Using rhetorical questions, Carlisle makes it clear that each man has a duty to his king: "What subject can give sentence on his king? ...read more.

Conclusion

The people understood that they were to have faith that God's plan was for their best. [Should this be the first paragraph following the introduction?] While Carlisle's (and several other characters') position asserting that passive obedience, as Bevington points out, "the moderate position between the extremes of tyranny and rebellion," greatly affects the audiences response to the play, readers must be careful not to consider it Shakespeare's position (723). The accepted moral standards of the church are called into question; when Bolingbroke ascends the throne, becoming King Henry IV, does his ascension assert that God has divinely appointed him king and that Richard must now submit to his authority? Whether audiences choose to see Henry's usurpation of the throne as rebellion against God or appoint by God, Carlisle's speech will elicit great thought on the matter, providing justification for the doctrines of divine right and passive obedience. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Richard II section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Richard II essays

  1. Explore Shakespeare's presentation of Kingship in Richard II

    This speech can be seen to be an implied condemnation of Richard's kingship and is arguably a climax in the tensions between Richard and Gaunt. Undeniably Gaunt expresses his despair at Richard's predisposition to flattery at other points in the play too.

  2. Richard II. John of Gaunts patriotic assault on the unpopular Richard would appeal greatly ...

    These final words from Gaunt are interrupted by Richard, which does little to help his cause. This is an unholy act, which provokes a shocked response from the audience. Not only does he interrupt his Uncle's dying speech; he interrupts it by calling him "a lunatic lean-witted fool."

  1. RICHARD II KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS SETTING Richard II is located in ...

    His tragic flaws are his unshakable faith in his own divinity and his self- destructive arrogance, which the Greeks termed "hubris." He also displays inflexibility in the face of fate, which becomes one of the chief causes of his downfall.

  2. The Tragedy of King Richard the second - In what ways do the speeches ...

    So Richard takes the opportunity to rid of them both in the second before the battle commences. It seems that Richard has changed his mind at the last minute or being very dramatic and has waited until the most tension has being built up before he stops the fight, having already planned to do so.

  1. Write about the dramatic methods used by Shakespeare to portray the character of Queen ...

    This once more establishes Isabel as a figure of grief. From the lachrymose style of this metaphor, we can see Shakespeare's attempts to express to the audience how consistent Isabel is in gathering sympathy for her husband. "Ah thou the model where old Troy did stand, thou map of honour,

  2. 'Richard II' by William Shakespeare

    On the way to Berkley, Bolingbroke says to his entourage "I wot your love pursues / A banished traitor. All my treasury / Is yet but unfelt". This reason may be legitimate, but when York asks "Why have those banished and forbidden legs / Dared once to touch a dust of England's ground?"

  1. How does Shakespeare portray the character of Richard?

    The guilt of conscience take thou for thy labour, but neither my good word nor princely favour: with Cain go wander through shades of night, and never show thy head by day nor light. Lords, I protest, my soul is full of woe, that blood should sprinkle me to make

  2. How is Richard II portrayed in Act I?

    However, as the Act continues we realise that although Richard is King of England so along with the title comes extraordinary wealth and power, Richard is not all that powerful and authoritative.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work