At first England is referred to as, 'This other Eden, deem-paradise/ This fortress built by nature for herself' (2. 1, p. 677-720, 41-44). Gaunt compared the garden of England to the Garden of Eden, Gods Garden! Soon that image is destroyed with descriptions of England defeating itself, much like pests and rodents destroying a garden from the inside out. Referencing both the Garden Of Eden and the internal destruction of the garden, it is obvious that this speech is more than just rambling about flowers and bugs.
Describing England as much more than just place to live while also commenting how it is those that live in England that will destroy it is much more religious than some might think. While in the Duke of Works garden, it becomes evident who the "pests" of the garden really are. King Richard and his merry men are the parasites that are destroying the Garden of England. "When our sea walled garden, the whole land is full of weeds/ Her fairest flowers choked up, her fruit trees all unpinned/ Her hedges ruined, her knots disordered and her wholesome herbs swarming with caterpillars (3. , p. 1836-1919, 40-46). In the same scene on lines 51-65, it is made clear that it is the king that has not trimmed and dressed his land. While he does not directly come out and say the word, "garden", Blinkered speaks of the, "Caterpillars of the commonwealth/ Which have sworn to weed out and pluck away" (2. 3, p. 1277-1 357, 166-167). We know, of course, that Blinkered is speaking of the Kings advisors, Bushy, Bogota, and Green. Talking about the pests of the garden that are destroying it is a very important part of the play.
Knowing who is letting weeds flourish in the Arden makes it easier to get the plants in a row. In regards to the gardens in the play, feel that Shakespeare was writing on more of a religious front than anything. Using the Garden of Eden as a way to describe England was my first tip off. The beauty, bliss, and purity that we all know of the Garden of Eden made it easy to picture England as a beautiful garden. Once the ugliness and betrayal made an appearance, Adam and Eve and their betrayal to God came to mind. While they could not resist temptation, King Richard could not resist either.
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He became greedy and money hungry with the desire of land and power. This led to the internal failure of the garden since the main "gardener" was failing at his duties. Religion was a major undertone in The Tragedy of King Richard II, and when I realized this I finally noticed how wonderful the writing of Shakespeare truly is. Once you get past the different style of writing, it is easy to admire the beauty within the play. It is clear why John of Jaunts speech about the garden is one of the most famous speeches of the play.
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