Richard the Second

William Shakespeare

This is the first history play I’ve read that I didn’t particularly like. The characters stray from Shakespeare’s more theatrical style and are instead painfully realistic. King Richard seems to slide back and forth between possibly powerful and definitely dumb. Bolingbroke’s motives are at first understandable and later a cringe-worthy mockery of Richard’s own actions. All that wishy-washy-ness, combined with a lack of comic relief or a strong villain or at least an interesting woman, made reading the play fairly boring whenever it wasn’t downright confusing.

My professor, however, loved the play, as did a number of my classmates, and hearing their interpretations made the thing seem better. Perhaps I just need to see this one to fall in love with it.