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MonkeyNotes-Richard II by William Shakespeare
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Act I, Scene 4

This scene opens in Windsor Castle in London almost immediately after the previous scene. Richard assesses the feelings of Aumerle, the Duke of York's son, and asks him about his parting words with Bolingbroke. Richard observes that Aumerle had accompanied Bolingbroke for a long distance. Aumerle replies bluntly that he had only accompanied him to the next highway. Aumerle says that he had not shed any genuine parting tears, and the few that did appear on his face were due to the stinging northeast wind. He further tells Richard that the only word exchanged at the parting was "farewell" and that he did not say anything, since his heart forbade him to fake a fond farewell. Aumerle's dislike of Bolingbroke emerges clearly throughout this dialogue, and Richard can be sure of his loyalty.

Richard cautiously admonishes Aumerle not to appear unfeeling, gently reminding him that after all, Bolingbroke is their cousin. Then, changing the subject, Richard says that he has been informed by Bushy, Bagot and Green that Bolingbroke enjoys great popularity among the common people. Richard reflects that the ease with which Bolingbroke thanked the common people for their concern made it seem as if "our England (were) in reversion his / And he our subjects' next degree in hope."


Green then prompts Richard to remember the Irish rebels, now that Bolingbroke has been effectively done away with. He urges Richard to take immediate action against them, as further delay will only give them an advantage. Richard optimistically proclaims that he himself will lead the army against the rebels in Ireland. He then mentions that the royal coffers are empty and need to be filled. With that end in mind he is forced to "farm our royal realm." If the money collected from taxes is not enough, he will have to demand money from the wealthy nobles of the land. At this point in time, Bushy enters with the news that old John of Gaunt is extremely sick and has asked Richard to come to his death bed at Ely House. Richard's response is quite callous, and he wishes that Gaunt may die quickly, so that his fortune can be used to finance the expedition to Ireland. His words are shocking: "Now, put it, God, in his physician's mind / To help him to his grave immediately!" He tells all his companions to come along with him to Gaunt's bedside, all the while praying that they may "make haste, and come too late." Echoing Richard's sentiments, they all exit.

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