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YMMV: Richard II

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Henry Bolingbroke has a lot of contradicting analyses. Romantics portrayed Richard as a brilliant, sophisticated, and sensitive monarch Too Good for This Sinful Earth and Bolingbroke as an opportunistic knave who took advantage of the country's thirst for change to seize a crown that wasn't his. History Marches On, and some recent readers view Bolingbroke more favorably, emphasizing his very justifiable grievances with the King, which spiral out of his hands into a general coup against Richard; other interpretations of the play hold that Shakespeare writes the conflict between Richard and Bolingbroke as a case of Grey and Gray Morality.
    • American readers may be especially well-disposed towards Bolingbroke because they see him as a part of a long string of English precedents — from Magna Carta through the beheading of Charles I and the Glorious Revolution against James II — that served to end the arbitrary power of kings, and establish that properly aggrieved subjects could throw off the king's rule.
  • Foe Yay: Richard and Bolingbroke. It's relatively subtle (less so in The Hollow Crown version, where it's pretty blatant), but man, is it there.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Richard. He has made some very bad decisions. But he gets well fucked over and by the time of his soliloquy you really just want to hug him and give him back his shiny things.
  • Ho Yay: It's William Shakespeare, so everyone's pretty malleable, but, ye gods! Richard and Aumerle. In the 2013 RSC production with David Tennant they actually make out.
  • Misaimed Fandom: For a play that criticizes the attitude that a monarch's right to rule is ordained by God, an inordinate number of productions portray the capricious and incompetent Richard as Too Good for This Sinful Earth.