King Richard II

By William Shakespeare; Peter Ure | Go to book overview

ACT II

SCENE I. -- [Ely House.]

Enter JOHN OF GAUNTsick, with the DUKE OF YORK, & c.

Gaunt. Will the king come that I may breathe my last


ACT II

Scene I

Material. The first half of the scene (to l 155), comprising the death of Gaunt, is discussed in then Introduction, pp. xxxiv-xxxv ff, and see notes below. Richard's seizure of Gaunt's property immediately after his death and York's reaction derive from Hol., 496/1/26 ff: see Appendix. In Holinshed, York does not protest personally to the king, but the material in his protest-speech is from Holinshed (see notes on 11. 16508, 202-4); Holinshed reports that York withdrew to his house at Langley and dissociated himself from affairs (see 1. 211). For sources of York's character in general, see note on 1. 221. Richard's decision to got Ireland, already introduced in 1. iv, and his appointment of York as "lieutenant generall" (lord governor", 1. 220) derive from Hol., 496/2/70 ff, but these events did not happen in such rapid succession as Shakespeare depicts. The last part of the scene (from 1. 224), depicting the treasonable conversion between Northumberland, Ross, and Willoughby, is based on Hol., 497/2/54 ff, with some details from other places in Holinshed. Holinshed does not name the persons who first engaged in plotting against Richard on behalf of the exiled Bolingbroke, but Shakespeare takes the name from Holinshed's list of those who first flocked to Bolingbroke's standard (see note on II. Ii. 53- 5). Shakespeare also runs together the first plotting and the reception of the news of Bolingbroke's imminent arrival (to which, without warrant from Holinshed, he makes Northumberland privy before the other conspirators), whereas, in Holinshed, Bolingbroke sets forth only as a result of the pleas of Thomas Arundell, Archbishop of Canterbury, who is sent to France as emissary of the malcontent nobles. The part played by Northumberland is thus greater in Shakespeare than Holinshed allows. It is therefore possible that Shakespeare owed something to the mention of the Percies' treasonable muterrings in Froissart, chap. CCXXXIII (vi. 347): "There were many knightes and squyers in the kynges company that shulde go with hym into Irelande that were nat cotent with him. . . Such wordes [of discontent] were so multiplyed, that the lorde Henry Percy and sir Henry his sonne spake certayne wordes, whiche came to the kynges knowledge and to his counsayle." On the other hand, it is eqully possible that Shakespeare's

____________________
Location.] Wright; not in Qq, F. S.D.] Enter Gaunt, sicke with Yorke. F.

-46-

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King Richard II
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Arden Shakespeare ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Preface to the Fifth Edition (1961) viii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • Introduction xiii
  • Characters - (in Order of Speaking) 2
  • The Tragedy of King Richard the Second 3
  • Scene III.-- [the LIsts at Coventry.] 16
  • Scene IV. -- [the Court] - [ Enter the King with Bagot and Greene at One Door; and the Lord Aumerle at Another.] 21
  • Act II 46
  • Scene II.--[windsorcastle.] 69
  • Scene IV. --[a Camp in Wales.] 88
  • Act III 90
  • Scene II.-- [the Coast of Wales.] 94
  • Scene IV. --[the Duke of York's Garden.] 105
  • Act IV 124
  • Act V 145
  • Scene III.--[windsor Castle.] 152
  • Scene IV. -- [windsor Castle.] 159
  • Scene V. -- [a Prison at Pomfret Castle.] 169
  • Scene VI.--[windsor Castle.] 177
  • Appendix I 181
  • Appendix II 198
  • Appendix IV 207
  • Additional Notes to Text and Commentary 208
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