Richard II is one of Shakespeare’s finest works: lucid, eloquent, and boldly structured. It can be seen as a tragedy, or a historical play, or a political drama, or as one part of a vast dramatic cycle which helped to generate England’s national identity. Today, to some of us, Richard II may appear conservative; but, in Shakespeare’s day, it could appear subversive: ‘I am Richard II’, declared an indignant Queen Elizabeth. Numerous recent revivals in the theatre and on screen have demonstrated the enduring power and poignancy of this drama of the downfall of an egoistic but pitiable monarch. Richard II is the seventeenth volume in the Wordsworth Classics’ Shakespeare Series, in which each volume has been freshly edited by Cedric Watts.