The crown is a symbol of the throne, the king, and the powers of the king. When Henry gathers troops to support him, for example, Richard says that they are lifting steel against the crown, which represents the king himself and his claim to England. Most simply, the crown indicates who is king, and in the climax of the play, Richard physically hands the crown to Henry, both symbolizing and enacting the change in power. But there is also some complexity to the symbol, as Richard refers to the crown as “hollow,” which is both literal, since the crown has an empty space for the wearer’s head, and figurative, since it can suggest that the monarchy itself or the head within the crown are hollow or unsubstantial. What’s more, the crown is also tied to identity, especially since Richard’s identity is so tied up with the kingship. He says in the process of being deposed, “my crown I am.” On one hand, this suggests that his entire identity is that of a king, and that once he loses his crown he soon dies. But we can also note that this line may be a pun relying on the other meaning of the word “crown”: a head.
The Crown Quotes in Richard II
Wrath-kindled gentlemen, be ruled by me.
Let's purge this choler without letting blood.
This we prescribe, though no physician.
Deep malice makes too deep incision.
Forget, forgive; conclude and be agreed,
Our doctors say this is no month to bleed.—
Good uncle, let this end where it begun;
We'll calm the Duke of Norfolk, you your son.
Not all the water in the rough rude sea
Can wash the balm off from an anointed king.
The breath of worldly men cannot depose
The deputy elected by the Lord.
For every man that Bolingbroke hath pressed
To lift shrewd steel against our golden crown,
God for His Richard hath in heavenly pay
A glorious angel.
He is come to open
The purple testament of bleeding war;
But ere the crown he looks for live in peace,
Ten thousand bloody crowns of mothers' sons
Shall ill become the flower of England's face,
Change the complexion of her maid-pale peace
To scarlet indignation, and bedew
Her pastures' grass with faithful English blood.
If you crown him, let me prophesy
The blood of English shall manure the ground
And future ages groan for this foul act,
Peace shall go sleep with Turks and infidels,
And in this seat of peace tumultuous wars
Shall kin with kin and kind with kind confound.
Disorder, horror, fear, and mutiny
Shall here inhabit, and this land be called
The field of Golgotha and dead men's skulls.
O, if you raise this house against this house,
It will the woefullest division prove
That ever fell upon this curséd earth!
Here, cousin, seize the crown.
On this side my hand, on that side thine.
Now is this golden crown like a deep well
That owes two buckets, filling one another,
The emptier ever dancing in the air,
The other down, unseen, and full of water.
That bucket down and full of tears am I,
Drinking my grief, whilst you mount up on high.
With mine own tears I wash away my balm,
With mine own hands I give away my crown,
With mine own tongue deny my sacred state,
With mine own breath release all duteous oaths.
All pomp and majesty I do forswear.
My manors, rents, revenues I forgo;
My acts, decrees, and statutes I deny.
God pardon all oaths that are broke to me.
God keep all vows unbroke are made to thee.