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How is Richard II portrayed in Act I?

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´╗┐How is Richard Portrayed in Act I? In Act I of Richard II, Richard is portrayed as powerful, pompous and arrogant, all somewhat contrastingly to his portrayal towards the end of the play. We see even as early as Act I glimpses of Richard?s fatal flaws and the crucial mistakes he makes which determine his dramatic fall. The genre of the play is historic tragedy, so the audience know the main protagonist; in this case Richard; is doomed from the start. So, in Act 1 Shakespeare?s portrayal of him is not only purposeful for his fall, but also hugely ironic, making his descent to ?? even more dramatic. Immediately in Act I, Richard?s power and authoritative presence is apparent. The setting in Windsor Castle is a very formal occasion, as Richard gives Bullingbrook and Mowbray a formal hearing. It is really overblown and grandeur setting for the opening scene and so even before any speech, Richard is perceived as being powerful and omnipotent. ...read more.


When he uses the metaphor ?Rage must be withstood/ Give me this gage. Lions make leopards time? (I/II/173-4) here he is trying to assert his dominance and gain back control over the hearing as Bullingbrook and Mowbray demand a fight. He is reminding them of his pre-eminence, which makes him seem not only egotistical but shows his lack of control especially following Mowbray?s reply; ?Yea, but not change his spots? (I/II/175). His undaunted and scintillating response show is lack of true and honest respect for Richard, aside from formalities. It shows Richard?s lack of intrinsic power if a noble can under-mine him, and feels the need to knowing what the consequences may be. Not only is the whole play written in poetic rhyming couplets, but much of Richard?s speech is written very poetically and Shakespeare uses a lot of colourful and figurative language in his speech. By ?face to face? ?brow to brow? ?the accuser and the accused? Richard is repeatedly using mirroring imagery to re-enforce the idea of the ?standoff? coming between Bullingbrook and Mowbray, but also signifies the ultimate standoff between himself and Bullingbrook. ...read more.


His response is cruel and heartless, only focusing on his financial gains from Gaunt?s death, ?The lining of his coffers shall make coats/ To deck our soldiers for these Irish wars.? Gaunt?s inheritance is right-fully his son?s, Bullingbrook, so by taking it Richard is giving Bullingbrook a reason to avenge and try to destroy him. Not only does this make Richard seem brutal and callous, but also narcissistic and gallant as he does not even consider Bullingbrook?s reaction. As Richard believes he is God?s representative on earth, he sees himself as ?untouchable? impenetrable, so Bullingbrook?s anger does not matter as he cannot defeat him as he is protected by God- an idea certain to make Richard fall, and clearly apparent to the audience. Overall, Richard?s portrayal changes throughout Act I as his flaws and cracks begin to show. He is shown to be authoritative and powerful initially but we then see him to not be as powerful as he believes himself to be. However, there is no doubt that he is egocentric and contemptuous, apparent through his exaggerated self-opinion. Grace Devenney ...read more.

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