July 19, 2018
Cyrus Amiri

Cyrus Amiri

Academic rank: Assistant professor
Address: English Department / Faculty of Forign Languages and Literatures / Sanandaj 66177-15175 / Iran.
Education: PhD. in English Language and Literature
Faculty: Faculty of Literature and Foreign Languages


Formal Problematization of History in Shakespeare’s Richard II
Type Article
eyword: Shakespeare, Richard II, Historical play, Elizabethan age, Rhetoric, Self-fashioning, Meta-theatricality.
Researchers Cyrus Amiri


This study of Shakespeare’s Richard II seeks to show that the contradictions and inconsistencies of the Elizabethan society and the Elizabethan subject’s awareness of the contingency of his/her identities and the problematic nature of truth find formal expression in the play.The play’s foregrounding of dramatic conventions (metatheatricality) and the role ofrhetoric and language are among the most significant formal strategies for expressingthe Elizabethan subject’s fluididentity and his continuous self-fashioning in a world unprecedentedly characterized by people’s awareness of the multiplicity of the world and the need to move from one stage to another.The conflict between the monarchical-providential logic of Richard II and the republican logic of Bolingbroke - worked out not so much through armies as through rhetorical speeches -constitutes the formal and explicit expression of ‘war of the worlds’among the Elizabethans.This central conflict, which dynamically divides sympathy and the loyalty of the main characters,provides a double stage which triggers the characters’ rhetorical and dialectical warfare and necessitates their continuous self-fashioning. Shakespeare’s own awareness of the problematic nature of historical representation explains hisoscillation between the official history of the Tudors and the emerging republican interpretation of history. This awareness has led to the foregrounding of the problems of historiography and the theatrical conventions of historical play.