The Life and Death of Richard II

Here you will find all Good Tickle Brain material related to Richard II, including my comprehensive, scene-by-scene re-telling of the entire play. 


A Stick-Figure Richard II

This originally appeared as a series of blog posts. I have updated the accompanying commentary for this section. To read my original, rambling commentary, re-visit the blog posts here.

Stand-Alone Comics

Here are all the stand-alone comics I have done that reference Richard II

2013-11-21 - Ladies-in-Entertaining

Comparative Performances

I love seeing how different actors and directors treat the same passage of text. Here is a sampling of various passages from Richard II, as brought to life by a variety of actors.  

This Sceptered Isle (2.1)

0:00 - An Age of Kings, 1960, Edgar Wreford
2:01 - BBC Shakespeare, 1978, John Gielgud
3:58 - Shakespeare's Globe, 2003, John McEnery
5:35 - The Hollow Crown, 2012, Patrick Stewart

"This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle" is easily the most famous speech Richard II. Spoken by the dying John of Gaunt, it is often seen as a paean to England, lauding its glorious nature and inherently noble spirit. However, it is important to remember that it ends on a distinctly sour note:

That England, that was wont to conquer others,
Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.

Basically, he's saying that the country is going to the dogs. Put that in your patriotic pipe and smoke it.

The Hollow Crown (3.2)

0:00 - An Age of Kings, 1960, David William
1:53 - BBC Shakespeare, 1978, Derek Jacobi
4:28 - Playing Shakespeare, 1982, Richard Pasco
5:59 - Shakespeare's Globe, 2003, Mark Rylance

This is the other famous speech in Richard II, and one of my personal favorites. The language is glorious and haunting in its stark confrontation of the inescapable mortality of even God's anointed king. I have a clip of Ben Wishaw doing it from The Hollow Crown mini-series as well, but YouTube wouldn't let me post it due to pesky copyright assertions. Oh well, it's a fair cop. 

Aye, No, No, Aye (4.1)

0:00 - An Age of Kings, 1960, Tom Fleming & David William
0:29 - BBC Shakespeare, 1978, Jon Finch & Derek Jacobi
1:05 - The Hollow Crown, 2012, Rory Kinnear & Ben Wishaw
1:33 - Royal Shakespeare Company, 2013, Nigel Lindsay & David Tennant

This is not a particularly famous speech, but I love the many different ways in which the very simple line "Aye, no, no, aye" can be delivered. Plus, it's a homonym party! Is Richard saying "no, aye" or the very nihilistic "no I"?