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Richard II Power Quotes

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

Quote #1

God's is the quarrel; for God's substitute,
His deputy anointed in His sight,
Hath caused his death: the which if wrongfully,
Let heaven revenge; for I may never lift
An angry arm against His minister.
Where then, alas, may I complain myself?
To God, the widow's champion and defense.
Why, then, I will. Farewell, old Gaunt. (1.1.2)

John of Gaunt is willing to let the king get away with murder because he thinks Richard is God's "deputy" on earth, meaning Richard has been chosen by God to be king. He can do whatever he wants, since he doesn't have to answer to anyone but God. As we'll see, though, not everyone sees kingship this way.

Quote #2

We will ourself in person to this war:
And, for our coffers, with too great a court
And liberal largess, are grown somewhat light,
We are inforced to farm our royal realm;
The revenue whereof shall furnish us
For our affairs in hand: if that come short,
Our substitutes at home shall have blank charters;
Whereto, when they shall know what men are rich,
They shall subscribe them for large sums of gold
And send them after to supply our wants;
For we will make for Ireland presently. (1.4.5)

Richard has been lousy at managing his money and is too broke to fund his war in Ireland, which is why he's leased out his right to tax. This raises an important question: if the monarch is a lousy king who mismanages funds, steals from his own people, and murders his political enemies, do the people have a right to get rid of him? Richard's answer would be "no," because he sees himself as being chosen by God to be king. But are people just supposed to stand around waiting for God to get rid of the king?

Quote #3

Ourself and Bushy, Bagot here and Green
Observed his courtship to the common people;
How he did seem to dive into their hearts
With humble and familiar courtesy,
What reverence he did throw away on slaves,
Wooing poor craftsmen with the craft of smiles
And patient underbearing of his fortune,
As 'twere to banish their affects with him.
Off goes his bonnet to an oyster-wench;
A brace of draymen bid God speed him well
And had the tribute of his supple knee,
With 'Thanks, my countrymen, my loving friends;'
As were our England in reversion his,
And he our subjects' next degree in hope. (1.4.4)

Richard is relieved when he has an excuse to banish Henry Bolingbroke from England. Here we learn that Henry is a favorite among the commoners. Even though Richard would insist that they don't technically have a say in who should be king, Richard is just a teensy bit nervous about Bolingbroke's popularity. What would happen if the people decided they wanted Henry to be their monarch?

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