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RICHARD II

SYNOPSIS

By Beverly Bullock


In the court of King Richard II his cousin, Henry Bullingbrook, the Duke of Norfolk, accuses Thomas Mowbray of treason. Richard assigns them a day of trail by combat.


The Duchess of Gloucester tries to rouse Bullingbrook’s father, John of Gaunt, to vengeance, claiming that her husband was murdered by Mowbray on orders from King Richard.


Richard stops the trial by combat and banishes both combatants, to the outrage of Bullingbroke’s many supporters.


John of Gaunt, his death hastened by the banishment of his son, curses Richard with his last breath. Richard seizes all of Gaunt’s assets, which should have gone to the banished Bullingbrook, using as an excuse his up-coming military excursion to Ireland. Gaunt’s brother, the Duke of York, chastises his nephew the King, but to no effect.


When Richard is away in Ireland Bullingbrook returns to England, and thousands of disaffected citizens, tired of Richard’s luxuries and the indulgences of his favorite courtiers, rally to his side.


Bullingbrook captures Richard and returns him to London, where a jury of peers, most of whom favor the Duke, witness Richard yield up his crown.


Richard and his Queen bid a tearful goodbye, then Richard is conducted to Pomfret Castle as a prisoner. Aumerle, the son of the Duke and Duchess of York, joins a plot to kill Bullingbrook, now King Henry IV. His father discovers the plan and loyally reveals it to the King, who pardons him.


Richard is murdered in his prison cell and his body brought before the King, who is horrified: although he took his crown and wished him dead, he’s shocked by the bloody regicide, and plans a pilgrimage of atonement to the Holy Land.

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