Richard II and Henry Bolingbroke are cousins, both grandsons of King Edward III. Richard rules by divine right (the belief that the king has been chosen by God). Vain and self-involved, he seems to pay no attention to the fact that England is bankrupt and close to civil war. When the Duke of Gloucester is murdered, his wife believes Richard II orchestrated the crime. She asks the king s uncle, John of Gaunt, for vengeance, but Gaunt refuses to challenge Richard. Richard also faces a political dilemma when Gaunt s son, Bolingbroke, brings a charge of treason against Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk. When Richard fails to resolve the dispute peacefully, he orders the men to engage in a joust of honor. Before the combat begins, Richard orders it stopped and then banishes both men: Mowbray for life and Bolingbroke for six years. With his son in exile, a bitterly dejected Gaunt, sick and dying, laments the end of his beloved country s glory and scolds Richard for his destructive rule. Upon Gaunt s death, Richard confiscates Gaunt s estates to pay for a war with Ireland, names his uncle, the Duke of York, as Regent and departs for Ireland. Bolingbroke returns from exile to seize back his inheritance and leads a band of some of Richard s supporters, headed by the Earl of Northumberland, in a war against the king. When Richard returns from Ireland, he first loses his supporters, then the war; with no hope of victory he surrenders and allows himself to be taken to London to relinquish his crown to Bolingbroke. After bidding farewell to his Queen, Richard is imprisoned in Pomfret Castle. Bolingbroke, the new King Henry IV, is soon faced with his own crisis a plot involving the Duke of York s son, Aumerle, to unseat Henry and restore Richard. When a comment by Bolingbroke prompts the murder of Richard at Pomfret, he denounces the murder and blames himself for Richard s death, ordering a pilgrimage of penance to the Holy Land.
- Source: http://www.shakespearedc.org/index.html
Original title: The Life and Death of King Richard the Second
Genre: Drama and Plays→ English→ Elizabethan
This work is a subwork of the following works :
Complete Works of Shakespeare (1951) [Omnibus Volume]
Author: William Shakespeare