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Richard II Gender Quotes

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

Quote #10

Thou frantic woman, what dost thou make here?
Shall thy old dugs once more a traitor rear? (5.3.7)

This is where York and his wife argue in front of King Henry about whether or not Henry should pardon their son, who plotted against the new king. York is particularly nasty in this passage. When he asks, "Shall thy old dugs [breasts] once more a traitor rear?" he's basically saying it's his wife's fault their son is a traitor. (In Shakespeare's day, people thought mothers could pass on traits to their children through breast milk.) In other words, York says his wife somehow passed on some rebellious traits when she breastfed their kid. Gee, we wonder how they celebrate Mother's Day in the York household.

Quote #11

Banish us both and send the king with me.
That were some love but little policy. (5.2.4)

Things keep getting worse for the queen. When she learns that Richard is being sent away to Pomfret Castle, she begs Northumberland to let him go to France with her. That, of course, is impossible: Richard has just been dethroned, and if he's allowed to live with his queen in exile, they could have a child together, who could grow up to make a legal claim to the throne. (Remember, the English crown is supposed to pass from father to son.) But the queen doesn't get it, and Northumberland's response reminds us that she really is clueless about matters of state.

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