Richard II

by: William Shakespeare

Act I, scene i

The poetic rhetoric of this scene also set the stage for the remainder of the play. Richard II is noted for its lyricism, its richness of metaphor and symbolism, and the "formality"--or carefully structured rhymes and parallel constructions--found in its language. There is hardly any prose in the play, and characters often begin to speak in rhymed couplets for no apparent reason; the dramatic purpose is usually to mark a moment of great importance or emotional intensity. This occurs often in Act I, scene i. For instance, when Richard tries to reconcile the quarrelers near the end of the scene, nearly everyone begins to speak in rhyme. Mowbray says, for instance: "Mine honour is my life, both grown in one, / Take honour from me, and my life is done. / Then, dear my liege, mine honour let me try; / In that I live, and for that will I die" (181-185).