new play! woohoo! wow, life is so good. today i got to sleep in, do a little Shakespeare, watch some tv, and tonight i get to go out for dinner with my amazingly wonderful and handsome fiance. yay for today! also, as far as Richard II goes, i know nothing going into this. and by nothing i mean NOTHING, so if there's anyone out there with knowledge of this play, do share! please and thank you!
stuff i learned about Richard II today:
-okay so i just figured out that this tetralogy (comprised of Richard II, the two Henry IVs, and Henry V) immediately precedes the Henry VI/Richard III tetralogy chronologically. so Henry V will leave off where we started 1 Henry VI. it's kind of cool to read them in reverse like that, when we already know what will ultimately happen at the end of the Wars of the Roses. wouldn't it be cool to see all 8 done... like across a year or something... starting with this play? i'm sure someone has done that before. would. be. awesome.
-be on the look out for this one central paradox explored in the play: a good man and a good ruler in one person is... impossible? does one cancel the other out? Richard is charming, interesting, and introspective, but an incompetent king. is Bolingbroke the opposite?
-also look for 'dirty politics going on behind the display' of what looks like a perfectly sound government. the doctrine of passive obedience was common during Richard's time, and still was during the Elizabethan time that this was written in. divine right and passive obedience go together, basically meaning that the ruler of England is chosen by God. whoever it is, good or bad, is meant to be in power. if the ruler is bad, the people are meant to see it as a test given them by God. they should remain passively obedient and deal with it until someone better comes along. to fight against the powers that be is to question God's authority.
if you think about it, it's pretty ingenious of the ruling powers to pass down this doctrine. of course rebellions happened, but it was a pretty smart way to keep them at a minimum. clever. very clever.
-maybe we see a slight anticipation of King Lear in Richard II? we can determine that as we go.
-and apparently this play kind of fits in with the "lyrical" period with Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream.
i'm excited for this one! and i hope you will read along with me!
for tomorrow: act 1, scenes 1 and 2