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Richard II Gender Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line)

Quote #7

Away, fond woman! were he twenty times my son,
I would appeach him. (5.2.18)

Although his wife believes that family bonds are more important than allegiance to the king, York thinks it's his duty to report his son's treasonous plot. Even if Aumerle is his son, he's going to turn him in anyway. It seems York hasn't learned anything from John of Gaunt's mistake....

Quote #8

Hadst thou groan'd for him
As I have done, thou wouldst be more pitiful.
But now I know thy mind; thou dost suspect
That I have been disloyal to thy bed,
And that he is a bastard, not thy son:
Sweet York, sweet husband, be not of that mind:
He is as like thee as a man may be,
Not like to me, or any of my kin,
And yet I love him.
Make way, unruly woman! (5.2.15)

Here the Duchess of York continues to beg her husband not to turn in their son for treason. What's interesting about this passage is the way the Duchess first suggests that mothers have stronger bonds with their children than fathers do, because mothers give birth ("groan" for their children). But then she seems to realize that this point isn't going to change her husband's mind, because she quickly switches tactics and urges York to think of the father-son bond he shares with Aumerle. The Duchess insists that York can't turn in his son because he's flesh and blood. In fact, she adds, Aumerle is more like his dad than his mother. But this doesn't work. In fact, York distances himself from Aumerle and plays up the connection between his son and his wife. When York orders the Duchess away and calls her an "unruly woman," he suggests that she is both a disobedient wife and an "unruly" subject, just like her son.

Quote #9

After, Aumerle! mount thee upon his horse;
Spur post, and get before him to the king,
And beg thy pardon ere he do accuse thee.
I'll not be long behind; though I be old,
I doubt not but to ride as fast as York:
And never will I rise up from the ground
Till Bolingbroke have pardon'd thee. Away, be gone! (5.2.16)

Wow. The Duchess of York would sacrifice her life to save her son Aumerle from being executed. Here she urges her son to get to the king before his father can get there first and accuse him of treason. She promises she'll follow close behind (even though she's too old to go riding off after him on a horse) and that she'll throw herself onto the ground and beg the king for mercy.

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