The Final Soliloquy Of Richard Ii Essay — страница 2

  • Просмотров 165
  • Скачиваний 5
  • Размер файла 15

(V.iii.80). Further philosophizing, Richard abandons his faith in salvation. And acknowledges the only escape that he can possibly conceive is the state of nothingness, or death. Only in death will he be released from his discontentment and pain. In his mind, death is the “ultimate and ironic purpose of existence” But what e’er I be, Nor I, nor any man that but man is, With nothing shall be pleas’d, till he be eas’d With being nothing. (RII, V.v.38-41) As he is eased by the thought of death, unaware of his own imminent fate, Richard is pleasantly startled by the sound of music emanating from nearby his cell. The music restores order to his world, a world in which he lost all concept of time and reality due to the lack of outside influences to frame such a reality. Now

he can keep track of time, using the metered signatures of the music. The music also allows him to see how he made so many mistakes. However, upon being interrupted, Richard does not return to his analysis of human discontentment. The music provokes Richard into a reverie on the metaphysics of time, an image scattered throughout the play. “I wasted time, and now time doth waste me” (RII, V.v.49). He shows a valid knowledge of what has made him an inadequate king, specifically his own misuse of time, which is accomplished in three ways, and a failure to recognize these abuses because of his egotism. First, he departs for Ireland at a time when his major problem is in his homeland and fails to return home in time to save himself by squashing Bullingbroke’s rebellion. Second,

he has illegally seized Bullingbroke’s inheritance and violated the ‘customary rights’ of Time. Richard’s third abuse of time has manifestly been his “lavish entertainment of his flatterers,” or his extravagant spending of money when he should have been maintaining a prudent administration. The abuse of time has resulted in an untended “English garden.” This recalls an earlier scene when the Gardener referred to the Richard, whom “waste of idol hours hath quite thrown down (III.iv.66). Richard ultimately accepts the responsibility of his actions, but, ironically, the punishment for these abuses of time is the enslavement to time, which Richard’s imprisonment represents. The consequence of this foolish mistreatment of such an important office has resulted in

Richard’s becoming nothing more than a “numbr’ing clock” (RII, V.v.50). The events and responsibilities of England are now in the hands of other men, the “English garden” has been partially restored to order, and Richard is of no use to anyone and is ultimately murdered as a result. After crafting his best poetry in the play, Shakespeare gives Richard a dignity that was not present before. Richard is bound within himself even as his body is imprisoned at Pomfret. Yet there is an aesthetic drive or impulse, a newfound aesthetic dignity, in Richard. This is accompanied by Richard’s revealing of his private characteristics, including philosophic insight and self-knowledge. This self-awareness is manifested in his polar annoyance with the music he was turned on by just

a few lines before: This music mads me. Let it sound no more, For though it hath holp madmen to their wits, In me it seems it will make wise men mad. (RII, V.v.61-63) With a new ability to see the errors in his ways, as well as his philosophical questioning of the world around him, Richard is ready to face death in a noble fashion. He may not have achieved full-fledged hero status in his transformation, but has certainly earned a degree of sympathy and respect from the reader that was not possible earlier in the play.