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MonkeyNotes-Richard II by William Shakespeare
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Act V, Scene 1

This scene focuses on Richard's poetic farewell to his queen. Queen Isabel is waiting with her attendants for Richard on a street leading to the "ill-erected tower" of London. When Richard appears, the queen melancholically compares Richard to a "beauteous-inn" whose lodger is "hard-favor'd grief" as "triumph" has "become an ale-house guest" (Bolingbroke). Richard urges her not to give in to grief and to think of their glorious former state as a "happy dream." He tells her to go away to France and spend the rest of her life in a convent. The queen chides Richard for showing such meekness in adversity. She exclaims in amazement, "What! is my Richard both in shape and mind / Transform'd and weaken'd! Hath Bolingbroke depos'd / Thine intellect?"


She tries in vain to rouse his drooping spirits. Richard has given way to despair and no one can help him. He bids her to prepare to leave for France and to think that he has died. Northumberland enters and disrupts their conversation to announce that Richard is to be taken to Pomfret, instead of the Tower of London, while Isabel must return to her native France. Richard denounces Northumberland for acting as the ladder through which "The mounting Bolingbroke ascends (his) throne." He warns him that with the passage of time, "foul sin gathering head / Shall break into corruption." He cautions that the love of wicked friends changes to fear, which divides friends from each other. Richard foresees an era of discord caused by the animosity that is bound to erupt between Northumberland and Bolingbroke. Northumberland merely tells Richard that they must soon leave. Richard's moving parting with his queen follows. Northumberland turns down Isabel's plea to banish both of them and to send Richard with her to France. He also turns down her proposal to allow her to go with Richard to Pomfret. Richard then sorrowfully kisses his wife farewell and bids her to be brief in "wooing sorrow." The scene ends as they part to go their separate ways and the stage is left empty.

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