Thursday, March 24, 2011

King Richard II

King Richard II was the first of Shakespeare's plays that I have had no clue what it was about when I started reading it. That is, I had never read a summery, never looked it up on Wikipedia, and never seen a movie of it, or anything.

It was actually rather interesting. Not that I had any idea what was going on. Well, I had enough of an idea. On third thought, no... I really didn't know what was happening, but I still enjoyed it.

Best Character: I liked John of Gout, but he died. I also really liked Henry of Bolingbroke. (He became King Henry IV.)

Worst Character: Richard II, believe it or not. I couldn't stand him. He was, well, he seemed a little bit crazy, not all there, you know.

In a Word: Interesting

Crowning Moment: It didn't really have a climax, at least, not that I noticed. But my all time favorite line in the play is "Not so; even through the hollow eyes of Death I spy Life peering; but I dare not say." (Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland.)

The play had many beautiful and meaningful lines. The most glorious were spoken by old John of Gout on his death bed.

"O, but they say the tongues of dying men
Enforce attention like deep harmony:
Where words are scarce, they are seldom spent in vain,
For they breathe truth that breathe their words in pain.
He that no more must say is listen'd more
Than they whom youth and ease have taught to glose;
More are men's ends mark'd than their lives before:
The setting sun, and music at the close,
As the last taste of sweets, is sweetest last,
Writ in remembrance more than things long past:
Though Richard my life's counsel would not hear,
My death's sad tale may yet undeaf his ear."


"Methinks I am a prophet new inspired
And thus expiring do foretell of him:
His rash fierce blaze of riot cannot last,
For violent fires soon burn out themselves;
Small showers last long, but sudden storms are short;
He tires betimes that spurs too fast betimes;
With eager feeding food doth choke the feeder:"

And at the very end, the last lines spoken by Bowlingbroke (Now King Henry.), professing his sadness concerning the death of Richard (Someone who, by the was, tried very hard to make his life miserable.

"They love not poison that do poison need,
Nor do I thee: though I did wish him dead,
I hate the murderer, love him murdered.
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 me grow:
Come, mourn with me for that I do lament,
And put on sullen black incontinent:
I'll make a voyage to the Holy Land,
To wash this blood off from my guilty hand:
March sadly after; grace my mournings here;
In weeping after this untimely bier."

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