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

Power and Betrayal in Shakespears Power and Betrayal.

Extracts from this document...


Christina Kimerle December 2, 2003 Power and Betrayal One must know how to use betrayal and power to achieve goals. Shakespeare's Harry Bolingbroke and Archbishop of Canterbury use their keen sense of betrayal and power to achieve many of their goals. While trying to return from banishment, Bolingbroke betrays Richard II, and Bolingbroke uses his power to gain support for his confrontation with Richard. Archbishop of Canterbury betrays Henry V into thinking that he has claims to invade France. He then uses the power of his position to gain the support of the people and the nobles while encouraging a war with France. Shakespeare's Richard II begins with a dispute between nobles Bolingbroke and Mowbray, and from the outcome Richard will be betrayed by Bolingbroke. King Richard banishes both Bolingbroke and Mowbray as the result of the dispute. Bolingbroke's father, John Gaunt, dies leaving his inheritance within Richard's sight. Warning Richard of the consequences of stealing Bolingbroke's inheritance, the Duke of York says, If you do wrongfully seize Hereford's rights, Call in the letters patents that he hath By his attorneys general to sue His livery, and deny his offered homage, You pluck a thousand dangers on your head, You lose a thousand well-disposed hearts (2.1, 202-207). ...read more.


If not, I'll use the advantage of my power, And lay the summer's dust with showers of blood. (3.3, 34-42) However, before Northumberland can enter the castle, King Richard and his allies appear upon the high walls of the castle. Richard with all the authority of a king, tells Northumberland to relay a message to Bolingbroke: if Bolingbroke dares to take the throne, the heavens and the King will rain vengeance upon him. He also says that Bolingbroke will not possess the crown in peace until blood stains the fields of England. Bolingbroke quickly denies that he has come to seize the throne, claiming he merely wants the rights as Gaunt's heir restored to him. Richard agrees to Bolingbroke's demands, but he realizes that his reign as king has ended; Bolingbroke certainly overpowered Richard and will not let him retain the crown. Bolingbroke calls upon Richard to come down, and Richard and his attendants obediently descend. Bolingbroke never says aloud of his intention to take the crown, but Richard asks whether he must go with Bolingbroke and his army to London, and Bolingbroke says yes; Richard agrees. ...read more.


Here Canterbury misquotes the words of the Bible; he uses his power to convince everyone into believing the just causes of the war. Given the title of Archbishop, lying to all the people, nobles, and the King proves a great problem with the clergy of the kingdom. With the Church behind him, Henry V goes to war with France to claim the throne. The dishonesty and misuse of the power of his position, the Archbishop of Canterbury undercuts the great military success of the war. Power and betrayal, two powerful weapons, show the great degree used to achieve one's goals. As proved, Bolingbroke and Canterbury use power and betrayal to propel their plan of success. Although both characters had completely different goals, they each used these similar weapons to their advantage. Bolingbroke used his power to gain support to betray Richard II and take his inheritance and the English crown. Canterbury used his power of position to betray everyone that Henry V had claims to the French throne and England needed to begin a war with the French. Not only do the dangers of power and betrayal appear throughout Shakespeare's writing, but in today's everyday turn of events. 2 ...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

    duel or that he is worried about his own blood, as his death will endanger the succession. It is through this type of language that Shakespeare emphasises the responsibility of a King to ensure the succession and the country's well being.

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

    As for the relationship between Richard and the two isn't a close relationship either. This is mainly because of what happened before the time of the play; Bolingbroke and Mowbray are the last two of the five 'Lords Appellant'. So, this leaves Richard not too keen on Bolingbroke, even though they are cousins, he feels the same about Mowbray also.


    It is the central, pivotal scene of the play. Everything that occurs before this episode builds up to it, and everything that follows is a consequence of it. The first three acts are a preparation for this event. Richard hands over his crown to Bolingbroke, who becomes Henry IV.

  2. 'Richard II' by William Shakespeare

    It was his fault that Bolingbroke returned to England looking for vengeance, but the audience may feel genuinely sorry for him by the end of the play. He believes in the Divine Right of Kings, that he had been appointed by God to be King of England, and only his own son could replace him.

  1. What do we learn of the motivations & characters of both Richard & Clarence ...

    Clarence also says, "That, as I am a Christian faithful man" which then draws up the audience's empathy. Standing alone, Clarence is a religious man, however in comparison to Richard it is an incredibly stark contrast.

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

    "Here let us rest, if this rebellious earth, Have any resting for her true King's Queen." Shakespeare here reiterates Isabel's despair and the enormity that her husband's pending departure is having on her state of mind. Nothing can provide Isabel with comfort when her Richard is being destroyed, she can find no peace.

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