Review: Richard II

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Richard IIBook Review
4 out of 5 stars to Richard II, a tragedy or historical account written in 1595 by William Shakespeare. Richard II is the first of a series written about the War of the Roses, a famous tug-of-war over England’s throne just prior to Shakespeare’s time. This is the most fascinating period of English history for me and I loved reading this play. Though Richard III is my favorite of all the kinds during this era, the circumstance surrounding Richard II’s kingdom and power are quite unique. He was either a brilliant man or the biggest loon out there. He had ideas, but he couldn’t follow through with them due to a split in his views on responsibility. His words had beauty, but he wasn’t respected. Shakespeare paints a similar picture of him. There’s little plot in comparison to other plays. It’s more of a historical account, a point-in-time view of what was happening. Who was trying to take the throne? What was each man’s or woman’s position? How would it turn out? People wanted to read this to see what he’d choose. If you’re not a history buff, there’s no point in reading it, other than perhaps for some of the beauty in the images being created in each passage and in the dialogue. You might even want to brush up on the time period by reading some historical fiction such as a few of the books by Philippa Gregory covering these characters. It’ll help with perspective and background, then you can compare the way the characters (cum real life people) are portrayed.

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9 thoughts on “Review: Richard II

    N. N. Light said:
    June 5, 2017 at 3:11 PM

    I’m enjoying your reviews of Shakespeare’s plays, Jay. With some, you point out things I haven’t noticed in previous readings. Will have to re-read the Bard. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      June 5, 2017 at 3:14 PM

      That’s great. I appreciate it. I think his always need 2 or 3 reads to fully grasp the key elements. Even when I was in a Shakespeare course, I didn’t pick up on everything. He’s too prolific and speaks about too many real situations to not find different things at different points in time. Thx for the share!

      Liked by 1 person

        N. N. Light said:
        June 5, 2017 at 3:17 PM

        Oh, I’ve read him several times and have been to a fair share of festivals. I truly believe that you need to experience Shakespeare plays at least once in your life. I own the complete annotated Shakespeare collection and took several courses in university. But it’s been about 6 years so time for a fresh look.

        Do you have a favorite play? Mine’s a toss-up between Henry V and the Scottish play.

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        June 5, 2017 at 3:19 PM

        Twelfth Night ranks up there pretty high. I’m a Macbeth guy too… I kinda liked Coriolanus too. I haven’t read one in so long either… about 6 years too.

        Liked by 1 person

    N. N. Light said:
    June 5, 2017 at 3:23 PM

    Ah yes, Twelfth Night is another gem. I live not far from the Stratford Festival in Canada and my brother-in-law goes every year.

    Liked by 1 person

    N. N. Light said:
    June 5, 2017 at 3:30 PM

    Does your town/city do Shakespeare in the Park? If so, I’d highly recommend trying it out. It’s a bucket-list activity for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      June 5, 2017 at 3:33 PM

      Yes, I’m in NYC. They have it right in Central Park. My friends been trying to get me to go, but we keep picking days that don’t line up. Good reminder, thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

    […] Richard II (1595) […]

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