Bad luck to King Richard

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Children’s View of the Reign of Henry the Fourth During Henry IV’s reign, the country was very muddled because each person had contrasting views and ideas on what was happening during this time. There were supporters of Richard II, Hotspur planning events against Henry, Hal getting out of control, and Owen Glendower organizing the rebels. “Richard II” by Eleanor and Herbert Farjeon has two distinct perspectives. The first stanza is in the perspective of every person in England being happy the Richard II was the king and that Bolingbroke was inferior. However, the second perspective is that Richard II should not be king and that he should give up his crown. All the “people are wailing Bad luck to King Richard / And mock at him trailing /His chains through the town” (Farjeon, “Richard II”).This not only proves that the people from the village hate Richard and they wish bad events on him. In this poem, the point of view is important because when one reads one point of view and one tends to stick to it even if there is strong evidence proving that that point is wrong.

On the other hand, Hotspur said some very strong accusations about the king to Blunt: “He deposed the King,

Soon after that deprived him of his life

And, in the neck of that, tasked the whole.

To make that worse, suffered his kinsman March …

In rage dismissed my father from the court,

Broke oath on oath, committed wrong on wrong,

And in conclusion drove us to seek out

This head of safety” (4:3: 97-100, 107-110).

Here Hotspur is accusing the king of not only getting rid of Richard II, but also making Richard’s life miserable. After that he taxed the country, he hurt people like March, dismissed Hotspur’s father, he broke all his promises, and the king drove them into being rebels and seeking him out for war. Hotspur is projecting everything to himself because he is very selfish. However, Worcester had something to say and he told the king:

“We were the first and dearest of your friends.

To meet you on the way and kiss your hand

That brought you home and boldly did outdare

The dangers of the time. You swore to us,

And you did swear that oath at Doncaster,

That you did nothing purpose ‘gainst the state,

And being fed by us, you used us so

By unkind usage, dangerous countenance,

And violation of all faith and troth” (5:1:34, 41-44,60, 70-71).

Here Worcester is claiming the king that they were his friends and that they were there to kiss his hand. However, the king took advantage of the people and he promised he would bring benefits to the country. He didn’t he taxed the country more than Richard II, which didn’t really help England. This is the reason that Worcester and all the rebels left the King. By making this group and preparing to fight the king they were going to fix what they thought was wrong. In the “Henry IV” poem, one can see that there are also two perspectives. The one is about questioning Henry IV about his reign and the second stanza is about his answers to the problems that his son, the rebels, and Richard supporters make. However, he answers by saying what he will do and this proves that he is a “strong,” “brave,” and proud man. He is showing that he can defeat all his problems and get what he needs. However, he also needs to prove that he is a worthy king since not many people like him. That is the reason that there can be “No more the thirsty entrance of this soil/ Shall daub her lips with her own children’s blood./No more shall trenching war channel her fields.”(1:1:5-7) Here King Henry IV wants to go to war to show his subjects how brave he is and to “protect “his subjects. This is very ironic because our previous president did the same thing to show America how strong he was. When we were attacked in September 11, 2001, President Bush had to make a decision to let that go or show the world and the U.S. that he was a strong leader. However, he did not want to only show he was a strong leader but also that he wouldn’t let the U.S. get pushed around so he started this war against Iraq since the terrorists came from there. The “Henry IV” poem also involves perspective because if the poem had only been made of questions the readers would have thought this king had nothing “under control.”

Finally, this poem shows that everyone during this time had a different point of view; everyone wanted a different king. It also proves that perspective of the poem can affect one’s idea of a certain person. If one were to say only bad things of a person, one would consider him/ her a horrible person and vice versa. That is why it is beneficial to get both sides of the story.



Henry IV Richard II


Hotspur Prince Hal

President Bush


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