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Gaunt's advice to Bolingbroke consists largely of a kind of metaphysical double-think, in which the idea is that exile will be made easier to bear if the banished party pretends that he has left the country of his own accord: "Go, say I sent thee forth to purchase honor, / And not the king exil'd thee" (282-83). Gaunt also suggests that Bolingbroke try to re-shape reality to what would please him, and interpret the objects of the world to be different from what they actually are: "Suppose the singing birds musicians,... / The flowers fair ladies, and thy steps no more / Than a delightful measure or a dance" (288-291). Bolingbroke, however, refuses to view the world from this idealistic perspective, insisting instead on the realistic: "O, who can hold a fire in his hand / By thinking on the frosty Caucasus?... / Or wallow naked in December snow / By thinking on fantastic summer's heat?" (ll. 294-299). This insistence on the failure of the imagination to alter the real shape of the world is one of key Bolingbroke's key traits, and it puts him in direct contrast with Richard. As the play progresses, Richard becomes increasingly poetic; unable or unwilling to face the harsh realities of the world, he articulates beautiful poetry instead. Bolingbroke, as we see in this scene, is his opposite--pragmatic and hard-headed.
I've recently read Richard II for my University course, here are my thoughts!
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I just finished King Richard II as part of goal to read all of Shakespeare by his 450th birthday.
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I've recently seen an RSC production of Richard II and noticed that instead of being killed by Lord Exton Richard was instead killed by Rutland. Can anyone think of explanation for this? I was thinking that the actor playing Exton may have been incapable of playing the part on that night so the actor playing Rutland took over, but there was a clear recognition between the two after the murder so surely another actor would have played the part if this was the case?
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