'Not all the water in the rough rude sea
Can wash the balm off from an anointed king'
Richard, a vain, despotic ruler, listens only to his flatterers. When his cousin Bolingbroke, previously banished, returns to seize the crown, Richard discovers that the throne given to him by God can be taken from him by men. Depicting a tortured and morally ambivalent soul wearing the 'hollow crown', whose illusions are brutally shattered, this tragic history play unravels the idea of kingship. It is also a work of epic lyricism, filled with some of Shakespeare's most intoxicating poetry.
Used and Recommended by the National Theatre
General Editor Stanley Wells
Edited by Stanley Wells
Introduction by Paul Edmondson