Richard II, the first of four Shakespeare plays known as the “Henriad,” is the tale of strife between Richard II, the rightful but terrible king, and his cousin Henry Bolingbroke. Followed by Henry IV Part 1, Henry IV Part 2, and Henry V, Shakespeare explores the question of political legitimacy and accountability – questions we still ask ourselves today. We meet Richard soon after he has commissioned the assassination of one of his uncles, a rash decision which brings him into conflict with his cousin Henry. Richard banishes Henry. But when Henry’s father dies, Richard seizes his land and wealth – which brings Henry back to England to gain back his rightful estate. Henry rallies several nobles and common folk alike, forcing Richard to face his lack of leadership skills and abdicate the throne.
What is the great tragedy in The Tragedy of Richard II? What makes a good leader – a king, a president? Can Shakespeare inform political discussions today? Listen and see what our guests think.
To listen to the Bedrosian Book Club Podcast discussion of Richard II click the orange arrow in the Soundcloud player at the top of this post. Or you can download it and subscribe through Soundcloud or iTunes!
Next Month …
Read Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa along with us, and listen to our discussion on February 29th.
The novel brings us back to Seattle, 1999 and the site of the WTO protests. Told from multiple points of view, the novels asks what kind of world do we want to live in and what are we prepared to do to get it. We’ll talk about protesting and democracy. Join us next month …
Links to things we talk about:
Bush v. Gore
Oregon militia standoff
Derek Jacobi as Richard II
The Hollow Crown
Mark Rylance Richard II
David Tennant as Richard II at BAM,Mar 24—Apr 29, 2016
Interested in the geographic politics of Richard II? Check out this mapping site.
This podcast was produced by Aubrey Hicks and Jonathan Schwartz, recorded and mixed by Corey Hedden.