Was Richard indirectly defeated by Bolingbroke? When reading Act III everything was put in perspective for me, Richard was fighting a losing battle. Bolingbroke felt he had a right to be king and nothing was going to stand in his way, not even King Richard. The scene with the Gardner really stuck out to me, I really liked the comparison between the garden and politics. It got me thinking a lot about the way government is run today. It seemed as if the message that was being portrayed here was that Bolingbroke and Richard where spending so much time worrying about who was fit to lead the country that they forgot about actually doing it. For example, they spent so much time arguing over the job of being king, that the country itself was falling down around them, figuratively. I felt like Richard stepping down, was very unsettling and disappointing. I can understand the uproar and fear it struck within many people considering the only leader that they have come to know is surrendering. To me, Richard stepping down is a sign that hope is lost; current day, “What’s next”-kind of attitude. When you take away something that everyone knows and is familiar with, it really throws people for a loop. The real question is, Did Richard have a choice? What do you think helped Richard to decide that Bolingbroke was right and he should step down? What would you have done, if you were Richard? Do you fault Bolingbroke for taking what he believes to be his? Current day, I would say that Bolingbroke could have handled the situation differently, but in context I must see where Bolingbroke is coming from and why he did the things he did the way he did. Why didn’t King Richard stand up to Bolingbroke for what he believed and wanted? Why did he surrender so easily? What kind of message does that send to his followers, giving up? Maybe Richard deserved to be defeated, maybe he really couldn’t handle the job. The people of a country need a leader that is willing to stand their ground, fight for their rights, represent them and stand by them no matter what; not someone who is going to split when the going gets tough, or someone who is more concerned about the title then actually doing the job correctly. Another thing worth noting, throughout the play thus far I have certainly noticed that King Richard has such high highs and low lows. For example, one minute Richard is demanding someone dead, and the next he’s changing his mind, which is it? There are many qualities you must have in order to be a king, and mood swings and indecisiveness are not some of them. Contrary to what I’ve been discussing, I think Richard did the right thing by stepping down, not only for the obvious reasons of Bolingbroke having more of a right to the kingship; but also because there are plenty of signs throughout the play thus far that indicate Richard is not cut out for the task.


One thought on “Defeat

  1. Cyrus Mulready

    There is so much interesting material here, Elise! I'd just like to focus on the idea of the garden, which is a really important metaphor for politics. How should a king treat the land? what should his relationship be to it? These are questions raised in the play, and encapsulated within this interesting moment.


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