North Central College Essay

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For this assignment, I have chosen to write about how, loyalty, itself, is valued throughout the entire book of Richard II. Loyalty plays a large role within decision making, family, and reputation within this story itself based on the tragedy of Richard II. Loyalty is usually the base for many relationships to stay and become strong, as demonstrated throughout this story.

When it comes to decision making in Richard II, loyalty within the family and community are very important, as Henry wants the truth and cannot let anything slide past; that someone has done wrong against another. For example, Bolingbroke shares Bushy and Green’s announcement of death with them by saying, “Bring forth these men. Bushy and Green, I will not vex your souls – Since presently your souls must part your bodies – With too much urging your pernicious lives, For ‘twere no charity; yet, to wash your blood From my hands, here in the view of men I will unfold some causes of your deaths” . Bolingbroke is explaining himself and his reasons to put Green and Bushy to death, expressing what evil lives they have both lived and put upon others as well before put to death. The following are reasons listed as to why they need to be put to death,

“You have misled a prince, a royal king, a happy gentleman in blood and line aments, by you are unhappied and disfigured clean: You have in manner with your sinful hours Made a divorce betwixt his queen and him, Broke the posses sion of a royal bed and stain’d the beauty of a fair queen’s cheeks with tears drawn from her eyes by your foul wrongs. Myself, a prince by fortune of my b irth, near to the king in blood, and near in love till you did make him misinter pret me, have stoop’d my neck under your injuries, and sigh’d my English brea th in foreign clouds, eating the bitter bread of banishment; Whilst you have fed upon my signories, dispark’d my parks and fell’d my forest woods, from my own windows torn my household coat, razed out my imprese, leavning my no s ign, save men’s opinions and my living blood, to show the world I am a gentlem an. This and much more, much more than twice all this, condemns you to death”. Listed in that passage from Bolingbroke, are all the reasons that Bushy and Green should not be kept alive and punished, due to not being loyal and part taking in poor decision making and acting upon them.

Family is also valued throughout this tragedy of Richard II. This is where I asked myself “Is Richard or Henry Bolingbroke more fit to be crowned?” I truly believe just because Richard was born into the royal family and naturally will be crowned due to his family’s past, that Henry Bolingbroke is actually more fit to be crowed due to his overall qualities and how similar he is to his grandfather. Even though Richard was born into the royal family and automatically gets to be crowned, I believe that he is not the right fit due to the simple saying that “hard work pays off.” I do not believe that anybody should just be handed anything whether it be inheritance or royalty, even if they are not particularly skilled in any field. One who works hard, is the one that deserves a reward in the end, in my eyes. Relationships within the family should be more important, rather than social and political aspects surrounding another, as political views are expressed throughout the book.

Last but not least, reputation – this particular word has a lot to do with making and acting upon decisions throughout this story. Anywhere from crimes, punishments, and death sentences, a reputation is always at risk or up for reward. For example, when Bush and Green are sentenced and put to death, both of them die bitter and angry until the end, with no remorse or shame, yet they die guilty and proud of their doings. They won’t even admit to their wrongs they’ve done and caused many to get hurt as well. Their reputations and egos were valued more than doing what was right or wrong, as long as they believed that they were taking care of things correctly in their own eyes. Admittance of a crime to Bush and Green, meant becoming weak and ruining their reputations as strong men. I feel that reputation also goes along with, if not almost similar to honor in this tragedy. Honor and reputation are two of the most important values shown and valued the most by each character the entire time. For example, in the beginning of the entire story of Richard II tragedy, the argument between Mowbray and Henry, is one of fighting for honor and respect towards and/or between one another. “Now, Thomas Mowbray, do I turn to thee, and mark my greeting well; for what I speak my body shall make good upon this earth, or my divine soul answer it in heaven. Thou art a traitor and a miscreant, too good to be so and too bad to live, since the more fair and crystal in the sky, the uglier seem the clouds that in it fly. Once more, the more to aggravate the note, with a foul traitor’s name stuff I thy throat; and wish, so please my sovereign, ere I move, what my tongue speaks my right drawn sword may prove” . Henry swears to God before he tells Mowbray the truth of what a traitor he is, to have proof that he’s telling nothing but the truth.

In conclusion, the tragedy of Richard II has many values that are portrayed throughout the entire story, however, loyalty to family and others, family in general, and their reputations are all highly valued compared to many other values portrayed. In the end, I believe it leaves the question that we all ask ourselves the entire time – what makes a good leader and why? In life we must also ask ourselves what would make us a good leader and why? I can definitely see how this tragedy of Richard II can teach and/or show us life lessons as we watch for what values are being portrayed and why, also considering the outcomes or good or poor decision making.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, W. (n.d.). Richard II.

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North Central College essay. (2022, Sep 29). Retrieved July 12, 2024 , from

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