Richard II

Shakespeare and Divine Right College

In Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V, Shakespeare appears on a micro level not to support divine right as characters throughout the plays consistently disrespect God and try to act above Him, yet when viewed more holistically it is clear that Shakespeare does support the divine right of kings because these actions that try to act above divinity have negative consequences. While reading each play, it may seem that Shakespeare is against the divine right of kings. In Richard II it seems obvious that he supports divine right as the rightful king, king Richard, is usurped by Henry Bolingbroke for at first glance what appear to be just reasons. Throughout Richard II, but the other three plays as well, characters continually act in defiance of religion or unjustly use it in order to further their own agendas. However it only seems this way when considering these specific, individual moments of impiety; in other words to read of Shakespeare as against divine right is to read too close to the text and not consider the bigger picture. When these plays are considered as a whole, Shakespeare actually emerges a supporter of divine right as the rejection of it is effectively what has caused each of the main conflicts in the plays....

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1171 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 9004 literature essays, 2372 sample college application essays, 399 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in