Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on William Shakespeare's Richard II. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
Richard II: Introduction
Richard II: Plot Summary
Richard II: Detailed Summary & Analysis
Richard II: Themes
Richard II: Quotes
Richard II: Characters
Richard II: Symbols
Richard II: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of William Shakespeare
Historical Context of Richard II
Other Books Related to Richard II
- Full Title: The Tragedy of Richard II
- When Written: 1595
- Where Written: London
- When Published: 1597 (Quarto)
- Literary Period: Elizabethan England
- Genre: History Play
- Setting: England, Wales
- Climax: Richard relinquishes the throne and Henry is crowned King Henry IV
- Antagonist: Richard II / Henry Bolingbroke (later King Henry IV)
Extra Credit for Richard II
Elevated Language (By the Numbers). Richard II is one of Shakespeare’s only plays containing no prose whatsoever. The entirety of the play is made up of verse, 81 percent of which is blank, meaning non-rhyming. By contrast, the other plays in the Henriad are around 40% prose, and about 50% blank verse. Of all of Shakespeare’s history plays, Richard II is the most rhyming. It is also the most rhyming of any Shakespeare play that is not a comedy.
Historical Sources. The primary source material for Richard II was a work known as Holinshed’s Chronicles. This historical chronicle also provided source material for most of the history plays, as well as the tragedies Macbeth, King Lear, and Cymbeline.