Richard II

Creative Liberties in Shakespeare’s Richard II College

Oftentimes when writing historical fiction, authors take creative liberties in their works. William Shakespeare was no different when he wrote his history plays. In Shakespeare’s English Kings, Peter Saccio discusses such discrepancies. In the course of this essay, the degree of victimization of King Richard II will be explored. As Saccio points out, “Richard was the victim of multiple treacheries in Wales, whereas Shakespeare’s Richard, although in a difficult position, is challenged by more honorable opponents and accompanied by more faithful supporters” (Saccio 30). The paper will pursue an answer to the purpose of Shakespeare’s modification of history in Richard II, and will analyze how those changes affect the play.

First it is important to outline the discrepancies—that is, to contrast the real figures with Shakespeare’s characters in light of their relationships with Richard. According to Saccio, Northumberland promises Richard at Conway that Bolingbroke would let him keep his crown and his power in return for his rightful inheritance, but then ambushes the king when he comes (Saccio 29). Shakespeare does use Northumberland in his role as Bolingbroke’s messenger; however, the playwright completely leaves out the ambush....

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