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This paper examines two of Shakespeare's historical kings: Richard II and King Henry IV. The paper argues that Richard II was a king by divine right, whereas Henry IV was a Machiavellian king. The paper first assesses Richard's rule: he was not loved by his people or by those who served him; he did not earn his kingship, did not respect it and did not do anything in order to keep it. The paper contrasts this to King Henry IV, who was completely aware of his kingship and what he had to do to keep it; he acted aggressive, decisive and proactive. The paper then demonstrates how the characterization of these two kings demonstrates Shakespeare's unique ability to capture the diversity of humanity and create believable characters. The paper concludes that Shakespeare proves that kings are just like the rest of us--some of them capable and some of them negligent beyond belief. The paper quotes from both plays in order to supports its theses.
From the Paper:"Richard II was a king by the divine right of kings and we only need to look at his actions to determine this fact. He would have never earned his kingship had it not been something that was given to him by right of his birth. In short, Richard is a bad king with no real vision. He never takes time to learn what it means to be king and, as a result, does not care about the responsibilities that come along with the title of being king. To make matters worse, he breaks laws and traditions that are essential to his own kingship and his bad behavior forces those under him to feel helpless, hopeless, and without direction. He does not care for the people and while he may have been an intelligent man, he was not strong in the way that a king needs to be strong. Undoubtedly, King Richard's strongest and best characteristic was his eloquence."
Cite this Comparison Essay:
Shakespeare's Kings (2006, September 27) Retrieved October 20, 2019, from https://www.academon.com/comparison-essay/shakespeare-kings-69062/
"Shakespeare's Kings" 27 September 2006. Web. 20 October. 2019. <https://www.academon.com/comparison-essay/shakespeare-kings-69062/>