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King Richard II: Essay Topics

1) Examine the character of Richard II. In what ways does he contribute to his own downfall?

2) The historical Queen Isabella was but a child when Richard II was on the throne. Why does Shakespeare include her in the play as a grown woman? What does her presence add to the overall play?

3) Discuss the complex character of Henry Bolingbroke. Are his actions throughout the play justified?

4) Compare and contrast the characters of Richard and Bolingbroke. Do the two share similar qualities?

5) Examine Richard's final speeches as he awaits death. What do these speeches reveal about Richard the man and Richard the king?

6) In Act V, Scene III, Bolingbroke speaks of his son, Hal. Why is Hal mentioned in this scene?

7) Of what importance is John of Gaunt in the play?

8) Describe Richard's relationship with his wife, making reference to their final meeting.

9) Examine Bolingbroke's last speech. How does this speech reveal his thoughts on the death of Richard and his future as England's new monarch?


More Resources

 Daily Life in Shakespeare's London
 Life in Stratford (structures and guilds)
 Life in Stratford (trades, laws, furniture, hygiene)
 Stratford School Days: What Did Shakespeare Read?

 Games in Shakespeare's England [A-L]
 Games in Shakespeare's England [M-Z]
 An Elizabethan Christmas
 Clothing in Elizabethan England

 Queen Elizabeth: Shakespeare's Patron
 King James I of England: Shakespeare's Patron
 The Earl of Southampton: Shakespeare's Patron
 Going to a Play in Elizabethan London

 Ben Jonson and the Decline of the Drama
 Publishing in Elizabethan England
 Shakespeare's Audience
 Religion in Shakespeare's England

 Alchemy and Astrology in Shakespeare's Day
 Entertainment in Elizabethan England
 London's First Public Playhouse
 Shakespeare Hits the Big Time

Research Your Topic

 Richard II: The Complete Play
 How to Pronounce the Names in Richard II
 Shakespeare's Second Period: Exploring the Histories

 Richard II: Q & A
 Famous Quotations from Richard II
 Richard II: Plot Summary

 Representations of Kingship and Power in Shakespeare's Second Tetralogy
 What is Tragic Irony?
 Seneca's Tragedies and the Elizabethan Drama
 Characteristics of Elizabethan Drama

 Why Shakespeare is so Important
 Shakespeare's Language
 Shakespeare's Boss: The Master of Revels