Reign of King Richard II

(2918 words)
  • David C. Dougherty (Loyola University Maryland)

Historical Context Essay

In the twenty-first century, we are likely to associate the reign of King Richard II (1367-1399; reigned 1377-1399) with two great stories, both linked to William Shakespeare. The principal one is of course Shakespeare's magnificent verse drama about the fall of the man he, and most of his sources, regarded as the last legitimate English king before the Tudor line. That play offers a stern warning from a cleric, that the deposition of King Richard will result in what we now call the Wars of the Roses: “If you crown him [Henry IV, the successor] let me prophesy / The blood of English shall manure the ground/ And future ages groan for this foul act” (4.1.137-139). Shakespeare's play is more a tragedy than a history, in which the …

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Dougherty, David C.. "Reign of King Richard II". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 February 2005
[, accessed 26 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Reigns and Monarchy in the British Isles