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Explore How Religion Is Presented And Developed In Richard Ii And King Lear

857 words - 4 pages

Both plays, Richard II and King Lear, start by Richard and Lear believing that the gods are on their side and that God put them there for a reason (the divine right of kings). However throughout the plays their attitude towards divine assistance changes and they both realise they will have to pay for their mistakes.

The divine right of kings in Richard II is present throughout the play. In Act 3, Scene 2 Richard says, ‘not all the water in the rough rude sea can wash the balm off from an anointed king;’. Earlier in the play Richard refers to himself as ‘England’ and the common people as the ‘sea’. He thinks that ‘the rough rude sea’ (the common people) cannot get rid of him because he is ...view middle of the document...

‘So Judas did to Christ:but he, in twelve, Found truth in all but one: I, in twelve thousand,none.’ Jesus got betrayed by one of his disciples but the other eleven stuck by him however Richard is likening his situation to it but he says he has ‘none’. That all of his ‘twelve thousand’ followers have deserted him and he his left with no one. Another likeness Shakespeare portrayed Richard to have is the way he had his power taken away from him. Nobody wanted to take the blame for it or get dragged down with him. The reader can see this from the lines, ‘Though some of you with Pilate wash your hands’ and ‘Have here deliver’d me to my sour cross.’ Jesus was crucified on a cross just like Richard is being ‘deliver’d’ to his ‘cross’. His followers have ‘washed their hands’ of Richard just like Pilate did when he pardoned Barabbas instead of Jesus. The reader can see that Shakespeare has done this to liken his situation to Jesus’, to show his divine powers.

Unlike Richard II, King Lear was set before Christ so there is no definite references to God or to Christ. However the characters look for Gods in times of need or when things go wrong.

In Act 2, Scene 4, Lear calls upon the heavens to take his side and send down a storm to punish Goneril and Regan because of their betrayal. ‘O heavens! If you do love old men, if your sweet...

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