Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Characters

Meet the Cast

A Note on Names

What's in a Name?You probably noticed that a lot of characters in this play have multiple names, which can make things pretty confusing. So before we get to our Character Analyses, let's talk about...

King Richard II

God's Gift to the World?The most important thing to know about King Richard II is this: the guy literally thinks he's God's gift to the world. We're not kidding. Richard (along with a lot of other...

Henry Bolingbroke (Henry IV)

Henry Bolingbroke (a.k.a. the Duke of Hereford and later the Duke of Lancaster) kicks butt and takes names throughout this entire play. That's why we're calling him King Henry IV by the time we get...

John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster

Here's what you need to know about John of Gaunt: he's Henry Bolingbroke's dad, he's really old-school, he's close pals with King Richard (at the play's beginning anyway), and his death is a major...

Duke of York

The Duke of York is King Richard's uncle and one of his most trusted advisors (sort of like Tom Hagen, the "consigliere" to the Godfather). But when Richard is tossed off the throne and replaced by...

The Queen

The queen is married to Richard. Technically and historically she has a name (Isabella), but Shakespeare never mentions it in this play. (Technically and historically she was also a child of about...

The Duchess of Gloucester

The Duchess of Gloucester is the widow of Thomas of Woodstock, the Duke of Gloucester. The first and only time we see her on stage, the Duchess tries to convince her brother-in-law, John of Gaunt,...

The Duchess of York

The Duchess of York is a lot like one of those mama bears who defend their cubs against any and all threats. As Aumerle's mother and York's wife, she's the only maternal figure in the play. When Yo...

Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk

Loyalty is an important theme in this play. Mowbray (a.k.a. Norfolk) is one of the few characters who actually remains loyal to Richard, even when he's accused (rightly!) by Henry Bolingbroke of ha...

Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland

Northumberland (a.k.a. Percy) is pretty bitter under Richard's government. He's unhappy with the king's decisions and eventually becomes Henry Bolingbroke's right-hand man. In fact, he's pretty ins...

Henry Percy

Henry Percy is the Earl of Northumberland's son. We find out in Act 2, Scene 2 that he's turned on Richard and has joined up (along with his dad) with Henry Bolingbroke's forces. He plays an import...

Duke of Aumerle

Aumerle is the Duke of York's son and a bit of a puzzle in the play. He's one of the only characters who refuses to fall in neatly with Henry Bolingbroke's plans, even though he's also the only man...

Exton

Exton only appears in a couple of scenes at the end of the play, so it can be hard to remember who this guy is and why he matters (especially when you're expected to remember all the other players...

The Gardener

The Gardener is a sassy, politics-loving, poetry speaking landscaper. His main role in the play is to deliver a big speech in which gardening becomes a metaphor for the proper rule and management o...

Bushy, Bagot, and Green

Bushy, Bagot, and Green are King Richard's more or less interchangeable yes-men. Throughout the play, they brown-nose the king and, unlike John of Gaunt, they only tell him what he wants to hear. T...

Prince Hal

Prince Hal (the star of Henry IV Part 1 and Part 2) doesn't make an appearance onstage in Richard II, but Shakespeare gives him an important shout-out toward the end of this play. Check out this pa...
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