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Richard II by William Shakespeare

He banishes the two men for different periods of time. Richard also hears a prophecy that tells him the consequences of his actions when the Duke of Lancaster tells him that his misrule will cause the kingdom to suffer for his sins. This is because the leader is more than an individual--he is the office itself, and by extension the entire kingdom. When Richard goes ahead and seizes Bolingbroke's property in spite of the prophecy, Bolingbroke has his excuse to return from exile to reclaim his rights. Richard allows this to happen, as well as alienating several other noblemen who will join Bolingbroke at precisely the time that the foolish king leaves the country in the hands of the enfeebled Duke of York.

Richard has set this in motion by his failure to allow the rules of succession to go forth, and in the end he does indeed lose his throne and his life. When he does, though, the one who kills him is himself banished because by killing a king, he as well has challenged the proper order. Henry has only taken back what belongs to him by right and has punished the ruler who did not live up to the rules of succession. Killing Richard is another matter. Richard's flaw is that he does not have the temperament to be a ruler and is always changing his mind and acting out of temperament rather than reason. Yet, here again his actions are not so much by choice as they are the result of character traits he cannot control. Richard seems to be a man in the grip of his impulses and unable to control himself as he should. He suffers greatly for this, as does his kingdom.

Richard also lacks the necessary leadership ability of being able to judge character, and indeed he is a very poor judge of character, including his own. He gives Bolingbroke the excuse the other man needs to challenge his leadership. He foolishly places his uncle, York, in charge when he goes to Ireland. He seems to have few supporters among his retinue, and many i...

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Richard II by William Shakespeare. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:57, August 20, 2017, from
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