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Wangh, M. (1968). A Psychoanalytic Commentary on Shakespeare's 'The Tragedie of King Richard the Second'. Psychoanal Q., 37:212-238.

(1968). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 37:212-238

A Psychoanalytic Commentary on Shakespeare's 'The Tragedie of King Richard the Second'

Martin Wangh, M.D.

On June 19, 1962, The New York Times drama critic, reporting the opening of a performance of Richard II at the Stratford Festival, wrote:

As a literary precursor of Hamlet, its complex central character—introspective, mercurial, vain and charming—is one of Shakespeare's most intellectual and interesting. The part is also one of the most hazardous for an actor… Only with the most skillful supporting cast, subtle direction and an exquisite performance in the principal role can the play hold an audience more than fitfully… Richard's transformation from a regal despot to a nobly suffering monarch is a complicated thing to convey believably, and Mr… is not up to it.

Three months later, on September 20, we read, again in The New York Times:

Shakespeare Festival deposes Richard II: The fall student program at the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Connecticut, has been cancelled. It was to start on Monday with Richard II and continue until October 20… Joseph Verner Reed, the Festival's executive producer, said that Richard II was a difficult play for students to understand and their teachers advised its cancellation.

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