King Richard II
The times have forced changes in the way we look at Richard II more than any other of Shakespeare's plays. What to his contemporaries was a balanced dramatisation of the central political and constitutional issue of the time, how to cope with an unjust ruler, has in the last century or so been translated into the poetic fall of a tragic hero. The introduction to this new edition of the play provides a full context for both the Shakespearean and the modern views of King Richard's fall. It relates the play's construction, imagery and staging to contemporary concerns and describes the changing views about Richard's deposition by means of a stage history. The accompanying illustrations suggest Elizabethan ideas of kingship and the staging of the play. The commentary is more detailed than for any previous edition of the play, and assimilates the most recent scholarship. The appendixes discuss the basis for Shakespeare's selection of material for his sources in this most carefully researched and composed of his history plays.
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