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Richard II

Richard II

 Table of Contents

Richard II Power Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

O my liege,Pardon me, if you please; if not, I, pleasedNot to be pardon'd, am content withal.Seek you to seize and gripe into your handsThe royalties and rights of banish'd Hereford?Is not Gaunt dead, and doth not Hereford live?Was not Gaunt just, and is not Henry true?Did not the one deserve to have an heir?Is not his heir a well-deserving son?Take Hereford's rights away, and take from TimeHis charters and his customary rights;Let not to-morrow then ensue to-day;Be not thyself; for how art thou a kingBut by fair sequence and succession?Now, afore God – God forbid I say true! – If you do wrongfully seize Hereford's rights,Call in the letters patent that he hathBy his attorneys-general to sueHis livery, and deny his offer'd homage,You pluck a thousand dangers on your head,You lose a thousand well-disposed heartsAnd prick my tender patience, to those thoughtsWhich honour and allegiance cannot think.KING RICHARD II Think what you will, we seize into our handsHis plate, his goods, his money and his lands. (2.1.7)


When John of Gaunt dies, Richard helps himself to all the guy's land and wealth. This is a big no-no (even for a king) because a man's land, wealth, and titles are supposed to pass down to his eldest son. (In this case, the eldest son is Henry Bolingbroke, who's recently been banished.) As York points out, if Richard takes away Henry Bolingbroke's birthright, he's crossing a major line. After all, the rules that say Henry should get his dad's land and wealth are the same rules that say kings should inherit the crown from their fathers. If Richard goes ahead and steals Henry's birthright, he'll lose the loyalty of his subjects. He'll also open himself up to the possibility that someone could come along and steal his birthright (the title of king).

Quote #2

The commons hath he pill'd with grievous taxes,And quite lost their hearts: the nobles hath he finedFor ancient quarrels, and quite lost their hearts. (2.1.4)


According to Lord Ross, Richard has lost the confidence of his people. This is important, because even though Richard says the opinion of the people don't impact him one way or another, we know he's dead wrong.

Quote #3

Well, well, I see the issue of these arms:I cannot mend it, I must needs confess,Because my power is weak and all ill left:But if I could, by Him that gave me life,I would attach you all and make you stoopUnto the sovereign mercy of the king;But since I cannot, be it known to youI do remain as neuter. So, fare you well;Unless you please to enter in the castleAnd there repose you for this night. (2.3.5)


As York points out, there's nothing he can do to stop Henry from storming through England with his army and taking Richard's crown. This suggests that being a king requires physical power and a willingness to be forceful, which Richard II lacks.

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