Richard II Passivity Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
Northumberland: But basely yielded upon compromise
That which his ancestors achieved with blows. (2.1.7)
"Baseness" is the opposite of honor in Elizabethan England, so it's interesting to see what behaviors these characters find shameful. In this case, Northumberland criticizes Richard for compromising with France instead of fighting the way his ancestors did.
Well, somewhat we must do. (2.2.4)
When Richard goes to Ireland and leaves York in charge of the kingdom, York recognizes that he can't stay paralyzed by indecision. He's got to try to do something about the fact that Henry Bolingbroke is on his way to confront the king. In contrast to Richard's passive confidence that God will provide, York realizes that he has to be proactive. Despite the difficult circumstances, he issues actual orders.
Not all the water in the rough rude sea
Can wash the balm off from an anointed king;
The breath of worldly men cannot depose
The deputy elected by the Lord:
For every man that Bolingbroke hath press'd
To lift shrewd steel against our golden crown,
God for his Richard hath in heavenly pay
A glorious angel: (3.2.13)
One of Richard's biggest problems is that he believes God has appointed him king of England and will send angels to protect him, no matter what. So does this explain why Richard never does much to defend himself against Henry's rebellion?