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Richard II Act 2, Scene 2 Summary

  • At Windsor castle, Bushy tries to cheer up Queen Isabella, who seems sad and preoccupied now that her husband has run off to fight a war in Ireland.
  • Isabella says she's worried that something terrible is about to happen, even though she can't quite put her finger on what it is that's bothering her.
  • Brain Snack: In the play, Shakespeare makes Queen Isabella a grown-up, but historically she was only 7 years old when she married Richard and 10 when Henry Bolingbroke invaded.
  • Bushy tells Isabella to chill out – she's just imagining things.
  • But Isabella insists that her woman's intuition is correct and that something awful is about to go down.
  • Then Green shows up and announces that... something awful has just gone down. Henry Bolingbroke has landed with a huge army at Ravenspurgh (a.k.a. Ravenspur), on the northeastern coast of England.
  • Not only that, but a bunch of the English nobility have joined up with Bolingbroke against the king – including Northumberland, his son Henry Percy, Worcester, Ross, Beaumont, and Willoughby.
  • York shows up dressed in battle gear and looking all serious and stressed out.
  • Queen Isabella asks York for comfort.
  • He says something like, "Sorry sweetie – I'm an old man and can barely comfort myself. Plus, I'm pretty busy trying to defend the kingdom while your husband's off fighting some silly war on Ireland."
  • A Servingman shows up and announces that York's son Aumerle has run off, probably to hook up with Bolingbroke's army. (Remember Aumerle? He's the one who said he was glad Bolingbroke got booted out of England back in Act 1, Scene 4.)
  • York orders the Servingman to go ask his sister-in-law (the Duchess of Gloucester) if he can borrow some cash so he can put together an army and confront Henry Bolingbroke.
  • York's timing couldn't be worse. The Servingman tells him the Duchess won't be lending out money any time soon – she died about an hour ago.
  • York is shocked. He says he wishes he had been beheaded along with his brother Gloucester.
  • York wonders how to pay for the wars and asks his men to go rustle up some soldiers to help defend the kingdom against Bolingbroke. Then he worries about who he should be loyal to. On the one hand, Richard is his king, but both Richard and Bolingbroke are his family, and Richard was wrong to steal Bolingbroke's inheritance.
  • Everyone leaves except Bushy, Green, and Bagot.
  • Bushy and Green know that Richard is going down. They don't want to be anywhere near him when it happens, since Bolingbroke will likely come after them too. So they decide to hightail it to Bristol Castle to hide.
  • Bagot says he'll go to the king in Ireland.

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