Richard the Second: Wrap Up

Ah, so another month ends, and with it, so goes Richard the Second.

How do I feel about this play?

Well, I kinda feel about Richard the Second the same way I feel about baseball.

yes, I know I’ve said in the past that I’d rather have a root canal performed through my ass by a blind man wearing boxing gloves before I’d so see another baseball game, but it’s not quite that bad here…

Continue reading “Richard the Second: Wrap Up”

Richard the Second: Numbers overall

Richard the Second

  • 2755 total lines; shorter than average play and problem play (average play: 2777; average history: 3009)
  • Act One: 653 lines; longer than average (average play: 590, average history: 612)
  • Act Two: 644 lines; longer than the average (average play: 568, average history: 621)
  • Act Three: 578 lines; slightly longer than average, shorter than average history (average play: 576, average history: 632)
  • Act Four: 334 lines; shorter than average (average play: 563, average history: 651)
  • Act Five: 546 lines; longer than average (average play: 480, average history: 493)
  • NO lines of prose (0% of total lines [as opposed to The Comedy of Errors: 13.31%, Titus Andronicus: 1.39%, The Taming of the Shrew: 20.82%, 1HenryVI: 0.37%, 2HenryVI: 16.64%, 3HenryVI: 0.14%, Richard III: 2.89%, Love’s Labor’s Lost: 35.08%, The Two Gentlemen of Verona: 26.81%, A Midsummer Night’s Dream: 19.75%, Romeo and Juliet: 14.18%, King John: 0.0%, and The Merchant of Venice: 21.79%])
  • 522 rhyming lines (18.95% of total lines [as opposed to Comedy: 20.10%, Titus: 2.42%, Taming: 3.93%, 1HenryVI: 9.79%, 2HenryVI: 3.16%, 3HenryVI: 5.37%, Richard III: 7.55%, LLL: 40.86%, 2Gents: 35.08%, Midsummer: 43.5%, Romeo: 16.61%, King John: 6.19%, and Merchant: 5.16%])
  • 19 scenes; less than average (average play: 21; average history: 24)
  • 35 characters (average play: 36, average history: 47)

Podcast 59: Richard the Second: Wrap-Up

This week’s podcast concludes our month-long discussion of Richard the Second with a few closing notes and a discussion of possible production concepts and casts. Then, we’ll finish up with our usual recap of this week’s blog entries.
Continue reading “Podcast 59: Richard the Second: Wrap-Up”

Rallying Cry?

In February 1601, some six years after the first performance of Richard the Second, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, led a poorly planned (and even more poorly executed) coup d’etat against Queen Elizabeth. He was arrested, tried and convicted for treason, and then executed by beheading (according to legend, it took three strokes to separate the head from the trunk).

The rebellion took place on February 8. The day before, members of the rebellion paid the Chamberlain’s Men (Shakespeare’s theater group) to perform Richard the Second at a private performance.

Were they hoping Elizabeth would abdicate in the same fashion as Richard? Did Essex see himself as a kind of Bolingbroke?

We don’t know, but we do know Elizabeth saw herself as Richard. According to reports, she later told her historian William Labarde, “I am Richard II, know ye not that?”

Bawdy: uh, not so much

Yesterday, we discussed Richard the Second‘s metaphorical mother mother figure: the brain:

My brain I'll prove the female to my soul,
My soul the father; and these two beget
A generation of still-breeding thoughts,
And these same thoughts people this little world

— V.v.6

Continue reading “Bawdy: uh, not so much”

Mother England

Yesterday, we talked a little about the “empty womb” imagery in Richard the Second. Today, let’s take it a little further to discuss the mother of all mothers (and fathers) in the play: England itself.
Continue reading “Mother England”

Podcast 58: Richard the Second: DVDs

This week’s podcast continues our month-long discussion of Richard the Second with a discussion of the Richard the Second productions found on disc and the internet. Then, we’ll finish up with our usual recap of this week’s blog entries.
Continue reading “Podcast 58: Richard the Second: DVDs”

Fire and Water: Yielding, my rear

In Act Three, Scene Three of Richard the Second, when Bolingbroke is about to meet with Richard to negotiate the terms of Bolingbroke’s return to England–he claims to want only his titles and lands back–he says,
Continue reading “Fire and Water: Yielding, my rear”