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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Quotes

Quote #1

Further I say and further will maintain
Upon his bad life to make all this good,
That he did plot the Duke of Gloucester's death,
Suggest his soon-believing adversaries,
And consequently, like a traitor coward,
Sluiced out his innocent soul through streams of blood:
Which blood, like sacrificing Abel's, cries,
Even from the tongueless caverns of the earth, (1.1.4)

The play begins with Henry Bolingbroke's accusation that Mowbray killed the king's uncle, Thomas of Woodstock, the Duke of Gloucester. Of course, everybody at court knows that Richard was behind his uncle's death, but nobody can actually come right out and say that. But when Henry Bolingbroke compares Mowbray's actions to those of Cain (the biblical figure who murders his brother in the Book of Genesis), we catch his drift. We're also reminded that the conflicts in this play aren't just political – they're family matters.

Quote #2

O thou, the earthly author of my blood,
Whose useful spirit, in me regenerate,
Doth with a twofold vigour lift me up (1.3.2)

This play is filled with fathers and sons. Certain characters in the play suggest that sons can reproduce or "regenerate" their fathers' courage (like Henry Bolingbroke does here). Other characters (like Richard) are put down for their failure to live up to their fathers' reputations. Here, Henry Bolingbroke asks his father to grant him the strength he had when he was a young man, so that he can defeat Mowbray in battle.

Quote #3

The pleasure that some father feed upon
Is my strict fast – I mean my children's looks,
And therein fasting hast thou made me gaunt. (2.1.4)

Gaunt compares the joy of looking at his children to eating yummy food. He faults Richard here for depriving him of the pleasure of his son Henry Bolingbroke's company. By doing so, Richard has made him "gaunt" (thin and weak), which is obviously a pun on his name. The idea is that when Richard banished Gaunt's son, he took away one of the things he most valued and turned him into a starved man who doesn't have long to live.

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