For the most part, women are kept on the sideline of action in Shakespeare's Richard II; discuss what roles these "minor" characters play in the text.

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The women of Richard II might play small roles politically, but in the narrative, they show how treachery in the political arena affects individuals on a more human, emotional level. This can be seen most keenly in the characters of the Duchess of Gloucester and the Queen. The Duchess has been given adequate analysis in the other answer posted here, so I'll focus a little more on the Queen.

Like the Duchess of Gloucester, the Queen loses a husband and, as a result, a great deal of her power, since she is socially dependent upon him. The Queen is faithful to her husband no matter what, and her love proves both touching and tragic. Richard might not be a great king (to put it mildly), but she is sworn to love and obey him. In fact, the Queen seems completely uninterested in politics. Before Richard is locked away, Isabella rather naively begs for him to be allowed to come to France with her so they can remain together. It never occurs to her that this is impossible in the eyes of...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 689 words.)

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