As I was reading Act one scene one of Richard II, I realized that there were a lot of lines that were rhyming. Characters would just tend to start rhyming their lines when the scene became more emotional, or when they were trying to get a strong statement across. A good portion of this rhyming can be seen in the end of scene one in the first act. During this part of the scene Richard II is trying to mediate the situation between the two noblemen. For example Richard's lines are "Good uncle, let this end where it begun;/ We'll calm the Duke of Norfolk, you your son." (around line 152). I found this to be quite interesting at the time, since the scene did not start off this way. It made me wonder why Shakespeare would want the actors to have these lines at that particular moment in the scene and not the entire scene?
As I started the second and third scenes of act one, I would notice this rhyming technique in many other places. I think that this technique says a lot about what Shakespeare wanted us to take from these lines. When I think of rhyming I automatically think of poems, and their importance of words to get the full meaning of what is being said. I really wanted to analyze this rhyming technique so I chose to pick the passionate lines of the Duchess, in the very end of act one, scene two. At this point in the scene the Duchess is trying to persuade John of Gaunt to avenge her husband Thomas of Glouceste's death. The Duchess says "Yet one word more: grief boundeth where it falls,/ Not with the empty hollowness, but weight:/ I take my leave before I have begun,/ For sorrow ends not when it seemeth done./ Commend me to thy brother, Edmund York....." I really felt that when she delivered these lines the amount of pain and anger in her voice really comes through. Shakespeare may have her rhyme these lines as an indicator of what is to come from her revengeful mourning. Almost as a hint to the readers that this is a major foreshadow of something that will happen in the play. This reminds me of something like a key to a map. When John replies back to the Duchess and refuses her and says that the punishment is up to God, I noticed that his lines before and after her did not rhyme. Perhaps telling the audience that he may change his mind, because there is not as much passion to his lines as the Duchess has. The same can be said for the beginning lines in which Richard II is trying to break up the arguing of the gentlemen Thomas and Henry. The rhyming here is insinuating that the argument is the basis of event to follow in the play. It is not until after Henry and Thomas' long speeches of how they have been betrayed by one another that Richard II lines begin to rhyme. Maybe to say that Richard II did not think the argument was serious until he really felt the passion between their speeches.
A lot can be said about these lines in the play and their true meaning. There are many ways to interpret what Shakespeare is trying to say by rhyming these particular lines. Is it merely for emotional purposes, or could it have a hint of foreshadowing for the readers to decipher? I'm curious to see if my theories on what will happen in the play from interpreting these lines will come true.