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Richard II Act 2, Scene 3 Summary

  • The scene opens in Gloucestershire (a county in southwest England), where Bolingbroke and Northumberland are leading Henry's army toward Cotswold to meet up with Berkeley, Ross, and Willoughby (the other noblemen who have decided to join "Team Henry").
  • Tip: Now would be a good time to take a look at this map to see how far Henry has marched (from Ravenspurgh to Gloucester).
  • Northumberland's son Henry Percy shows up. He says Northumberland's brother Worcester left the court and is on his way to join Henry's army because Northumberland had been declared a traitor.
  • Northumberland yells at his son for not showing Henry enough respect.
  • Ross and Willoughby show up. Bolingbroke thanks them for coming and promises to reward them. For now he offers them all he has: his thanks.
  • Berkeley arrives to deliver a message to Bolingbroke and calls him "my lord of Hereford" (since Henry is the Duke of Hereford).
  • This irritates Bolingbroke, who replies he'll only answer to the name "Lancaster," the title Richard took away. (Remember, because Henry's dad has died, the dukedom of Lancaster was supposed to pass down to Henry, but then King Richard stepped in and stole the land.)
  • Berkeley's message is from the Duke of York. It goes something like this: "Dear Henry, in case you forgot, you've been officially banished from England. So what the heck do you think you're doing showing up here with a big army? Love, Uncle York.)
  • As Bolingbroke is about to reply, York appears in person. Bolingbroke kneels and calls him "uncle." York says, "show me thy humble heart, and not thy knee."
  • York says he is "no traitor's uncle," and asks again why Bolingbroke has returned from his banishment to disturb England's peace while the "anointed King" is away.
  • Bolingbroke is all, "Gee, Uncle York. What on earth have I done wrong?"
  • Rebellion and treason, York says.
  • Bolingbroke gets up off his knee, stands, and says that technically, he was banished as the Duke of Hereford. Since he's now the Duke of Lancaster, he should get to come home. After all, King Richard didn't say anything about the Duke of Lancaster being banished.
  • Then Bolingbroke plays the dead dad card and tells his uncle York to cut him some slack.
  • Bolingbroke also points out that if Richard can take away his inheritance, then maybe Henry should take away Richard's (the crown).
  • Northumberland, Ross, and Willoughby join in and try to convince York that Bolingbroke has been wronged. York agrees in principle, but says that Henry shouldn't have shown up with an army. It sort of sends the wrong message.
  • Northumberland chimes in that Henry has sworn to come only to claim his own property and not to take over England. (Get your highlighters out, because this is important.)
  • York gives up. He says he's too weak to stop Henry from rebelling.
  • It's late and Henry's army has had a big day, so York generously offers to let them all spend the night at the king's castle so they can be bright-eyed and bushy tailed in the morning. (This is weird, right?)
  • Bolingbroke is all, "Thanks Uncle York, but I need to get to Bristol Castle ASAP so I can take care of Bushy and Green. Why don't you come with?"
  • York pauses. He really hates it when people like Henry break the laws of the land, but he finally agrees to go with Henry. (Hmm... If York is as loyal to the king as he says he is, why the heck is joining up with "Team Henry"?)

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