What is the role of ceremony and ritual in Richard II?

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Ceremony and ritual in Shakespeare's Richard II help readers or viewers of the play comprehend the changing of kings from Richard II to Bolingbroke, who becomes Henry IV in English history. When Shakespeare was writing the play, monarchy was also a site of anxiety in England. Elizabeth I, who was on the throne when Shakespeare wrote this play, had not produced an heir to the throne, which made everyone in England nervous about the future of the British monarchy. Shakespeare's play shows audiences that someone could take the throne right out from under a ruler, which violated the "divine right of kings." The divine right of kings is an early system of monarchy which claimed that kings were divinely chosen to sit on the throne. We today are a bit more removed from this idea of governance, but the political struggles that involve ceremony and ritual are still very much relevant to us.

The only way for the changing of kings to occur is for Richard to ceremoniously hand over the crown to...

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