Meaning of RICHARD II in English


died 1026/27 byname Richard The Good, French Richard Le Bon duke of Normandy (9961026/27), son of Richard I the Fearless. He held his own against a peasant insurrection, helped Robert II of France against the duchy of Burgundy, and repelled an English attack on the Cotentin Peninsula that was led by the Anglo-Saxon king Ethelred II the Unready. He also pursued a reform of the Norman monasteries. born January 6, 1367, Bordeaux [now in France] died February 1400, Pontefract, Yorkshire [now in West Yorkshire], England king of England from 1377 to 1399. An ambitious ruler, with a lofty conception of the royal office, he was deposed by his cousin, Henry Bolingbroke (Henry IV), because of his arbitrary and factional rule. king of England in Shakespeare's Richard II. He is a weak and capricious ruler who is brought to grief more by his own incompetence than through external circumstances. Convinced that his sovereignty is inviolate because he holds his throne by divine right, Richard exercises his power arbitrarily and delights in fanciful role-playing. After being deposed, he gains in maturity and stature. Richard utters some of Shakespeare's most poetic speeches, notably in the abdication scene and in his final soliloquy at Pomfret Castle. chronicle play in five acts by William Shakespeare, performed in 159596 and published in a quarto edition in 1597 and in the First Folio edition of 1623. It is the first in a sequence of four history plays (the other three being Henry IV, Part 1, Henry IV, Part 2, and Henry V), known collectively as the second tetralogy, treating the early phases of the power struggle between the houses of Lancaster and York. The story of Richard II is taken mainly from Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles. While much of the play is true to the facts of Richard's life, Shakespeare's account of his murder rests on no reliable authority. Richard begins the play as an extravagant, self-indulgent king. He exiles two feuding noblemen, Thomas Mowbray and Henry Bolingbroke. When John of Gaunt, Bolingbroke's father, dies, Richard seizes his properties to finance a war against the Irish. The seizure gives the resentful, conniving Bolingbroke an excuse to invade England with his own armies. Richard's last surviving uncle, Edmund of Langley, duke of York, serves as regent while the king is fighting in Ireland. York, however, recognizes that change is in the air and swears allegiance to Bolingbroke on behalf of himself and his son, the duke of Aumerle, who proves loyal to Richard. After Richard surrenders and abdicates the throne, he is held prisoner and hammers out the meaning of his life in sustained soliloquy. From this moment of truth, he rediscovers pride, trust, and courage, so that when he is murdered, he dies with access to strength and an ascending spirit. Bolingbroke (now King Henry IV) performs his first royal act (and displays his pragmatic approach to governing) by acquiescing to the duchess of York's pleas for Aumerle's life while the zealous York demands his disloyal son's execution. The play ends with Henry searching for his own wastrel son, Prince Hal, and swearing to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land to atone for his part in Richard's murder. (See Henry IV, Part 1.) In comparison to the plays of Shakespeare's first tetralogy (Henry VI, Part 1, Henry VI, Part 2, Henry VI, Part 3, and Richard III), which deal with the latter phases of the dynastic struggle known as the Wars of the Roses, Richard II is notable for its more deeply realized characters and more distinctive dramatic contrasts. Additional reading The fullest and most up-to-date biography of the king is Nigel Saul, Richard II (1997, reissued 1999). Many aspects of the reign are covered in Anthony Goodman and James Gillespie (eds.), Richard II: The Art of Kingship (1999).The king's political ideas are discussed by Simon Walker, Richard II's Views on Kingship, in Rowena E. Archer and Simon Walker (eds.), Rulers and Ruled in Late Medieval England: Essays Presented to Gerald Harriss (1995), pp. 4963; and Nigel Saul, Richard II and the Vocabulary of Kingship, The English Historical Review, 110(438):854877 (September 1995). The king's ideas during the final years of his reign are considered in Caroline M. Barron, The Tyranny of Richard II, Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, 41(103):118 (May 1968); and C. Given-Wilson, Richard II, Edward II, and the Lancastrian Inheritance, The English Historical Review, 109(432):553571 (June 1994).The Wilton Diptych has generated a literature of its own. The most important books are Dillian Gordon et al., Making & Meaning: The Wilton Diptych (1993); and Dillian Gordon, Lisa Monnas, and Caroline Elam (eds.), The Regal Image of Richard II and the Wilton Diptych (1997).

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