Richard II is one of Shakespeare's finest works: lucid, eloquent, and boldly structured. It can be seen as a tragedy, or a historical play, or a political drama, or as one part of a vast dramatic cycle which helped to generate England's national identity. Today, to some of us, Richard II may appear conservative; but, in Shakespeare's day, it could appear subversive: 'I am Richard II', declared an indignant Queen Elizabeth. Numerous recent revivals in the theatre and on screen have demonstrated the enduring power and poignancy of this drama of the downfall of an egoistic but pitiable monarch.First, heaven be the record to my speech In the devotion of a subject's love, Tendering the precious safety of my prince, And free from other misbegotten hate, Come I appellant to this princely presence. Now, Thomas Mowbray, do I turn to thee, And mark my greeting well; for what I speak My body shall make good upon this earth, Or my divine soul answer it in heaven. Thou art a traitor and a miscreant, Too good to be so and too bad to live, Since the more fair and crystal is the sky, The uglier seem the clouds that in it fly. Once more, the more to aggravate the note, With a foul traitor's name stuff I thy throat; And wish, so please my sovereign, ere I move, What my tongue speaks my right drawn sword may prove.