Comparing Divine Providence In Richard III And 1 Henry IV

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The idea of a “divine right,” or the belief that everything that happened was ordained by God, was used as an excuse for British monarchs to do anything they pleased. This is portrayed in the history plays of William Shakespeare. God’s divine providence is found particularly within Richard III and 1 Henry IV, demonstrating that the characters in these plays believe that whatever happens is God’s plan. However, every character has a different way of viewing God. In Richard III, it can be seen from the beginning of the play that Richard has a twisted view of God due to the actions he accuses the deity of taking. In the second scene of the entire play, Richard himself admits that he believes God is against him (39, 1.2.254). However, later, when Queen Elizabeth expresses her desire that God will allow Richard to be useless, he tells that, “God grants that (we) have need of you (47, 1.3.79-80).” By saying this, Richard is insinuating that the Queen is only still alive because God is going to use her to aid Richard in his schemes. The reader can see that Richard’s view of God is already changing, from Him being against Richard to Him using people to help Richard. Later, his view of God is changed once more as he says, “God bids us do good…show more content…
Falstaff particularly seems to think of God in an upbeat way. He tells Prince Hal, “God save thy grace (15, 1.2.18),” representing his belief that God was going to support his friend. He later tells Poins and the Prince, “God give thee the spirit of persuasion and him the ears of profiting (23, 1.2.158-159).” Again, Falstaff is showing his belief that God gives gifts rather than takes away or punishes. He later pleads that “God reward” him for his actions (143, 3.3.49) and that “God reward him (5.4.167)” who rewards Falstaff. Again, God is understood to Falstaff as a being who rewards rather than

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