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MonkeyNotes-Richard II by William Shakespeare
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York is disgusted with Richard's attitude and wonders how long he can endure these misdeeds. He praises the Black Prince, Richard's father, as being the fiercest lion who ever raged in war, but who was as gentle as a lamb during peaceful times. He says that although Richard has inherited his father's countenance, he has not inherited his kingly virtues and qualities. He says that the Black Prince's hands were never stained with the blood of the royalty. York tells Richard to abstain from seizing Gaunt's property, since it belongs by the laws of inheritance to Bolingbroke. But this warning has no effect on Richard, who casually dismisses York's words and declares his intention to take charge of Gaunt's property. York bids the king farewell, saying that he will play no part in this act. Overriding York's protests, Richard orders Bushy to see that Gaunt's property is confiscated. He then leaves the stage with his queen and followers.


Northumberland, Willoughby, and Ross are left alone onstage. They are angry at Richard's high-handedness, and Henry Percy, Duke of Northumberland, discusses the state of royal affairs and the king's misdeeds with the other two. Northumberland says that "the king is not himself, but basely led / By flatterers" who have a powerful hold over him. He fears that if these people poison Richard's ears against any one of them, then they will surely be banished. Ross says that the heavy taxes imposed by Richard have alienated the commoners, and the wealthy nobles have been angered by the imposition of fines for ancient quarrels and the issue of blank charters. Willoughby mentions Richard's bankruptcy, and Northumberland prophesies that "reproach and dissolution" hang over Richard. All three are disgusted by Richard's wrongful seizure of Gaunt's property. They are resigned to a disastrous fate for England.

The situation requires some radical measures, and Ross exhorts Northumberland to lead the revolt. Thereupon, Northumberland reveals that Bolingbroke has set sail for England with an army of three thousand men, who are expected to arrive any moment. Northumberland says that they will soon have a chance to overthrow Richard and redeem their country.

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