We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Richard II Essay Sample

The whole doc is available only for registered users OPEN DOC

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all help you need with your essay and educational issues.

Get Access

Richard II Essay Sample

John of Gaunt’s patriotic assault on the unpopular Richard would appeal greatly to the Shakespearean audience’s love for their country. Gaunt represents patriotism in the play, and is therefore the recipient of large amounts of sympathy from the audience. The death of such a well-liked character is particularly stirring. Richard’s mockery of “aged Gaunt” makes his claim to have a fair and just reign unconvincing. The patriotic character of Gaunt is elucidated as he announces that he would gladly give his life “would the scandal vanish”.

However, in contrast to this, Gaunt criticises Richard for his lack of willingness to fight for his country in “Christian service”. The audience’s support for Gaunt is increased as they realise that “He that made” them “knows” that Gaunt is right. Immense feelings of patriotism are evoked in the audience as Gaunt is involved in a sticomythia with Richard. Richard threatens Gaunt with execution, however, his thunder is stolen as Gaunt replies that he will die soon anyway due to his “present sickness”. His exit, to die, is highly dramatic as it symbolises the cessation of patriotism on the stage.

Richard is presented as entirely detested, as he has taken away Gaunt’s “love and honour”. Richard’s name is brought further into disrepute as Gaunt claims that Richard puts desire first and prophesises that his reign will “burn out”. These words of Gaunt’s are made somewhat more potent by the fact that they are his dying words and are therefore held in reverence. He arouses feelings of patriotism from the audience, when he refers to “thy land”, however this becomes patriotic indignation as he accuses Richard of making England’s “reputation sick”.

Gaunt uses truisms, such as, “as the last taste of sweets, is sweetest last,” to emphasise the truth in his words. This has a profound dramatic impact. He adds that if Richard’s “grandsire had… seen how his son’s son should destroy his sons”, Richard would not have been made king. Gaunt makes constant references to his brother Edward to emphasise that Richard will never come close to matching Edward’s greatness as King, moreover, Gaunt condemns Richard as a murderer using a sardonic tone. This has an enormous dramatic impact, as these are dangerous words to utter.

These final words from Gaunt are interrupted by Richard, which does little to help his cause. This is an unholy act, which provokes a shocked response from the audience. Not only does he interrupt his Uncle’s dying speech; he interrupts it by calling him “a lunatic lean-witted fool. ” This is extremely dramatic. The patriotic audience would be wholly frustrated by Richard’s dismissive attitude towards the nationalistic Gaunt and his “sad tale”. Richard cynically accuses Gaunt of not being “sick”, moreover, he reminds the audience that he is eagerly awaiting Gaunt’s death when he refers to him as “aged”.

These are Richard’s first words as he enters the room and thus it has a profound effect. Richard’s popularity in the eyes of the audience is repeatedly dealt heavy blows by the words of Gaunt. He implies that Richard doesn’t care about England and is not good enough for “this other Eden”. Gaunt places lavish praises on England, which stimulates great patriotic emotions in the audience. These emotions are experienced not only by the people watching the play, but also by the large number of people on stage. This effect of having two audiences augments the dramatic impact.

Gaunt constantly refers to England as a “demi-paradise” and a “precious stone”, which help to emphasise both the patriotism of Gaunt, and the corrupt nature of Richard for allowing such a “blessed” country to fall into disrepair. He describes England as a microcosm. Throughout the scene, Shakespeare uses the audience’s reverence for a dying man’s words to create a powerful dramatic effect. The poignant contrast between the two main characters; Richard and Gaunt would appeal overwhelmingly to the patriotism of a contemporary Shakespearean audience.

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

Peculiarities of various assignment types

The educational process is diverse and full of interesting writing tasks which help students develop their academic abilities. Different assignments types are created by professionals in order to enhance students’ level of analytical, critical and writing skills and to vary the learning process. As a student, you will encounter numerous tasks of diverse complexities throughout your student life. Sometimes, maybe, too complicated! They have different peculiarities, structural...

Making decisions in health and social care

Critically analyses the concepts, features, and importance of costs and accounting in making decisions in health and social care Cost accounting is a method used in accounting to capture a company’s or organisation’s production costs. It assesses the input costs of every step in production, fixed costs like depreciation of capital equipment. Cost accounting measures and records costs individually then compare the input results via...

Сhildren development

Physical development 7-12 years By the age of 7 a child enjoys things such as bike riding and rollerblading they are now able to tie and untie shoelaces without adult help, they are now starting to understand what rules are and are able to follow simple rules. At 8-12 years a child improves the physical skills that they have already developed and start to see...

Forex international trading market

Introduction Forex exchange is on the rise in Namibia; resulting in more people wanting to learn how to trade to try to increase their income so that they can enhance their standard of living. Forex Foreign exchange identifies the process of converting domestic currency into international banknotes at particular exchange rates (Bofah, 2017, para.1). As the number of foreigners in Namibia is increasing, more Namibians...

Aristotelian idea of God

This image produced in 1544 shows emerging's of the Judeo-Christians and Aristotelian's traditions. Aristotle was very interested in the idea of motion and said “The world is in a constant state of motion and change”. An example of how the world is changing is the growth of trees and plants. Aristotle believed in a prime mover, which is the being which creates change in the...

Get Access To The Full Essay
Materials Daily
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
Free Plagiarism
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access

Become a member

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Couldn't Find What You Looking For?

Get access to our huge knowledge base which is continuously updated

Next Update Will Be About:
14 : 59 : 59
Become a Member