The first play of a historical tetralogy consisting of Shakespeare’s Henry IV (parts 1 and 2) and Henry V, Richard II details the tragic downfall of the eponymous king and simultaneous rise of Henry IV. Whereas Richard II’s reliance on his bloodline and the Divine Right of Kings makes him old fashioned and reminiscent of medieval rulers, Henry IV’s contrastingly modern reliance on Machiavellian principles and his intellectual prowess gives him an edge that is ultimately Richard’s undoing. A powerful and elaborate tragedy, Richard II remains one of the most politically charged plays of Shakespeare’s illustrious career.
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