King Richard II

By William Shakespeare; Peter Ure | Go to book overview

SCENE V. -- [A prison at Pomfret Castle.]

Enter RICHARDalone.

Rich. I have been studying how I may compare
This prison where I live unto the world;
And, for because the world is populous
And here is not a creature but myself,
I cannot do it. Yet I'll hammer it out.
5
My brain I'll prove the female to my soul,
My soul the father, and these two beget
A generation of still-breeding thoughts,
And these same thoughts people this little world,
In humours like the people of this world;
10
For no thought is contented. The better sort,
As thoughts of things divine, are intermix'd
With scruples, and do set the word itself

MATERIAL. Richard soliloquy, ll 1-66: Daniel ( C.W., III, st. 64-71), like Shakespeare, opens his descrition of Richard's death with a soliloquy by him. The substance of the two soliloquies does not at all correspond. Most of the incidents prior to the actual murder appear to be invented, but the appearance of a faithful groom may derive from a "germ" in Holinshed: his account of the loyalty of Richard's Gascon follower Junico Dartois, who was imprisoned by Bolingbroke at Chester for refusing to put off Richard's badge (5002/2/58). Possible sources of the "roan Barbary" episode are discussed in the note to ll. 77-90. From ll. 95 ff the details all derive from Hol., 517/1/20 ff.

3. for because] because.

5. hammer it out" work hard at it, puzzle it out; cf. Gent., 1. iii. 17-18. 9. this little world] The tenor of Richard's argument suggests that he is referring to the prison and not to the human microcosm ( Richard himself). He wishes to compare the prison to the great world, but this is difficult because there are no people in the prison as there are in the world (ll. 1-5); so, with brain and soul as male and female, he will engender thoughts which will perform the function, essential to the maintaining of an analogy between prison and world, of peopling the prison (ll. 6-9); the analogy is completed, and the prison becomes proleptically this little world.

10. humours] temperaments.

13-14.] As is the case at v. i. 25, the repetition of a previous passage (v. iii. 120)is marked by irregular metre. F's version, although possibly due to a consultation of the prompt-book motivated by the irregularity, does not mend it, and certainly weakens the precision of what Richard says.

____________________
SCENE V] Scæ Quarta F. Location] Pope; not in Qq, F. S.D.] Qq; Enter Richard. F. 1. I may] Q1; to Q2-5, F. 5. hammer it] Qq; hammer't F. 8. still-breeding] Qq; unhyphened F. 13-14. word . . . word] Qq; Faith . . . Faith F.

-169-

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King Richard II
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Arden Shakespeare ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Preface to the Fifth Edition (1961) viii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • Introduction xiii
  • Characters - (in Order of Speaking) 2
  • The Tragedy of King Richard the Second 3
  • Scene III.-- [the LIsts at Coventry.] 16
  • Scene IV. -- [the Court] - [ Enter the King with Bagot and Greene at One Door; and the Lord Aumerle at Another.] 21
  • Act II 46
  • Scene II.--[windsorcastle.] 69
  • Scene IV. --[a Camp in Wales.] 88
  • Act III 90
  • Scene II.-- [the Coast of Wales.] 94
  • Scene IV. --[the Duke of York's Garden.] 105
  • Act IV 124
  • Act V 145
  • Scene III.--[windsor Castle.] 152
  • Scene IV. -- [windsor Castle.] 159
  • Scene V. -- [a Prison at Pomfret Castle.] 169
  • Scene VI.--[windsor Castle.] 177
  • Appendix I 181
  • Appendix II 198
  • Appendix IV 207
  • Additional Notes to Text and Commentary 208
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