© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

Richard II Act 5, Scene 1 Summary

  • The queen is waiting in a public street for the king to pass by on his way to the Tower of London, where he's going to be imprisoned.
  • When the king appears, the queen compares him to a withering rose and hopes that those watching might dissolve into dew and refresh him with tears of love. (Aw, that's so sweet. But it's probably not going to happen, because we're pretty sure the people lined up on the streets are throwing rotten tomatoes at Richard.)
  • Richard asks the queen not to grieve with him so as not to make his life end sooner from despair. He tells her to remember the good times as a happy dream.
  • Richard tells his queen to go live in a convent in France and dedicate herself to religion.
  • Surprised, the queen asks whether Richard has lost his mind. She tells him to act like a lion, not a whiny little schoolboy.
  • Richard laughs at her characterization of him as "king of beasts" and says he wishes he governed anything but beasts. He tells her to go to France, tell stories, and proceed as if he were dead. He asks her to imagine this as his deathbed, their final goodbye.
  • Northumberland shows up to tell Richard that Bolingbroke has changed his mind and wants him to go to Pomfret Castle instead of the Tower. He tells the queen she has been ordered to go France.
  • Brain Snack: Pomfret Castle is sort of in the middle of nowhere, so basically Bolingbroke is sending Richard to the medieval equivalent of Siberia.
  • Richard calls Northumberland the ladder Bolingbroke climbed to the throne and warns him that Bolingbroke will become suspicious of him once he's king. Once a man decides to depose a king, he might do it again. (Uh-oh. Looks like Shakespeare is trying to drop some hints about what's going to happen in the next play, Henry IV Part 1.)
  • Northumberland says he can deal with his guilt and tells the king and queen to hurry up and say their goodbyes already.
  • Richard exclaims that he's "doubly divorced": once from his queen, and once from his kingdom. To the queen he "unkisses" the oath they made.
  • The queen asks Northumberland if Richard can join her in her banishment to France, instead of being locked up. Northumberland is all, "Um, that's not such a good idea." (If Richard and Isabella are together, they could have a child, who could one day make a claim to the throne.)
  • The king and queen have a very sad parting scene, trading kisses and, metaphorically, hearts.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...