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

Discuss the relationship between Richard II and its source 'How kyng Richarde the seconde....'

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

AA306 - TMA 02 Discuss the relationship between Richard II and its source 'How kyng Richarde the seconde....' (Reader, pp. 6-9). The relationship between Richard II and The Myrroure for Magistrates is considered here predominantly in the context of the differences between the two texts.1 The function of each text is discussed initially, the didactic purpose of the Myrroure contrasted with the function of Shakespeare's play as, primarily, theatrical entertainment. The conflicting accounts of certain events from Richard's reign are looked at subsequently and the manner in which they reflect the different function of the texts. Finally, consideration is given to the different way in which the Myrroure and Richard II each reflect upon the theme of kingship through their portrayal of Richard's reign. In relation to each of these points of discussion, it is argued that Richard II delivers a more complex, multi-dimensional portrayal of character, events and themes than the Myrroure. The Myrroure is imbued with moral didacticism and Richard II's reign is employed to encourage rulers to govern virtuously and lawfully. Rulers must abide by 'right' and 'lawe' (l. 32), observe 'faythful counsayle' (ll. 35) and beware 'false Flatterers' (l. 33). Richard, however, is portrayed as a king who 'ruled all by lust' (l.31), 'passing not a straw' (l. ...read more.

Middle

An example is the description of Worcester's abandonment of Richard in the Myrroure, when he 'did... / Bebreake his staff, my houselhold stay/Bad eche man shifte and rode him selfe away' (ll.75-77) while in Richard II Bushy informs the Queen that 'Worcester / Hath broke his staff, resigned his stewardship / And all the household servants fled with him' (2.2.58-60). In the Myrroure, Richard describes how he surrounded himself with 'false Flatterers' (l.33) and 'gaping Gulles' (l.52), an aspect of Richard's rule highlighted in Richard II; Gaunt declares to the king that 'A thousand flatterers sit within thy crown' (2.1.100). Similarities extend to the use of imagery, Richard acknowledging in the Myrroure that 'Three meals a day could scarce content my mawe' (l.39), Gaunt declaring the danger of such avarice, for 'With eager feeding food doth choke the feeder' (2.1.37). However, Richard II and the Myrroure also differ in the presentation of events, particularly those relating to Richard's deposition. The Myrroure treats Richard's actual fall from power in cursory fashion, Richard complaining that 'Henryes pride / Dyd cause me yeld him up my crowne and throne.' (ll.85-6). Shakespeare, by contrast, presents the events leading up to Henry's deposition as more complex, contrasting Richard's apparent resignation of power with the suggestion that he struggles to do so. ...read more.

Conclusion

Yet Shakespeare also undermines this argument. Gaunt, one of the principal advocates of automatic allegiance to the king, dies abusing him roundly. As the king's position appears increasingly tenuous, York declares his neutrality and subsequently manages to justify Richard's deposition as the will of heaven, in doing so making the notion of an anointed king meaningless for it argues that an attempt to remove a king is the will of heaven if successful, treason if not: But heaven hath a hand in these events, To whose high will we bend our calm contents. To Bolingbroke are we sworn subjects now. (5.2.37-39) Conversely, and finally, the fact that Richard appears to voluntarily rescind can suggest that his deposition is indeed the will of heaven, his actions being God's will exercised through him. The two-dimensional approach to the theme of kingship contributes to the complexity of Richard II and it is this complexity which differentiates it from the Myrroure. The principal function of the latter is as a didactic text, its one-dimensional portrayal of character, historical events and the nature of kingship contributing to its didacticism. Richard II, in contrast, employs the same tools to provide for theatrical entertainment and also possibly reflects Shakespeare's ambiguous stance towards the events of Richard's reign, his person, and contemporary debates regarding the extent of a monarch's power. ...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 British History: Monarchy & Politics 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 British History: Monarchy & Politics essays

  1. Discuss Shakespeare's presentation of women in Richard III. Are they convincing characters?

    This is all deeply ironic as she is telling Richard to take responsibility for what he has done. The tone is very angry and this level of irony demonstrated is one we haven't seen, especially from the female characters. She then suggests for him to 'send her a letter of thy noble deeds.'

  2. What kind of king does Shakespeare create in Act 3 Scenes 1 and 2? ...

    "And their most reverend heads dashed to the walls, your naked infants spitted upon pikes," Henry is showing strength and stature in his speech he is also not afraid to make threats and to carry them out. Although in this scene Henry can be perceived as being harsh and reckless,

  1. Henry II (1154 - 1189) is generally seen as the main catalyst in the ...

    Chapter 1 The nature and development of English law pages 5-6 Pitman Publishing 52 Ibid page 5 53 Early Royal Courts - Clanchy M.T, 'Magna Carta and the Common Pleas' in Studies in Medieval History presented to R.H.C Davis (H.

  2. Report on The linkage of 2010 item and the two historical periods

    centuries of darkness and ignorance into a new age enlightened by reason, science, and a respect for humanity. It represented a genesis in the way man viewed himself, the pursuit of knowledge, and the universe. In this time period, man's previously held concepts of conduct and thought could now be challenged verbally and in written form.

  1. How do the poets in 'Charlotte O'Neils song' and 'Nothing Changed' show their feelings ...

    So, first of all the reader can see how unfair it is. The poet also makes her feelings clear by the sheer joy she has in telling the employer that she is leaving and from now on she can do her dirty work herself.

  2. Does Alexander II deserve the title of 'Tsar liberator'?

    in modern history?[6], an opinion which is perhaps deduced from a number of small successes of the reform. The decline of the gentry continued and the Mir and its powers were strengthened, both of which were eminently popular and positive effects for the peasants, who had more independence on a local scale.

  1. The changing position of women and the suffrage question. Revision notes

    How far did the Conservative party support the enfranchisement of women? The attitude of the parliamentary Conservative Party * The conservative party was as divided as the Liberal party when it came to women?s suffrage and individuals seemed to change their minds as different times.

  2. Wives & War: To what extent did these two aspects undermine Henry VIIIs rule ...

    All together this gives evidence to suggest that Henry?s intuition caused problems in creating difficulties for his reign. By the years of 1545 and 1546 the king?s worsening health made him less ambitious in military actions forcing him to conduct peace talks with both Scotland and France.

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