? asked in Arts & HumanitiesTheater & Acting · 1 decade ago

Can someone help me understand Shakespeare's Richard II play?

I basically just need to know a short and easy summary to explain to my classmates what richard the second is about.

i try researching on google, but im so confused!

please help me:(

2 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The first Act begins with King Richard sitting majestically on his throne in full state. We learn that Henry Bolingbroke, Richard's cousin, is having a dispute with Thomas Mowbray, and they both want the king to act as judge. The subject of the quarrel is Bolingbroke's accusation that Mowbray had squandered monies given to him by Richard for the King's soldiers. Bolingbroke also accuses Mowbray of the recent murder of Duke of Gloucester, although John of Gaunt—Gloucester's brother and Bolingbroke's father—believes that Richard himself was responsible for the murder. After several attempts to calm both men, Richard acquiesces and Bolingbroke and Mowbray challenge each other to a duel, over the objections of both Richard and Gaunt.

    The tournament scene is very formal with a long, ceremonial introduction. But Richard interrupts the duel at the very beginning and sentences both men to banishment from England. Bolingbroke has to leave for six years, whereas Mowbray is banished forever. The king's decision can be seen as the first mistake in a series that will lead eventually to his overthrow and death. Indeed, Mowbray predicts that the king will fall sooner or later.

    John of Gaunt dies and Richard II seizes all of his land and money. This angers the nobility, who accuse Richard of wasting England's money, of taking Gaunt's money to fund a war with Ireland, of taxing the commoners, and of fining the nobles for crimes their ancestors committed. Next, they help Bolingbroke secretly to return to England and plan to overthrow Richard II. However, there remain some subjects faithful to Richard, among them Bushy, Bagot, Green and the Duke of Aumerle, cousin to both Richard and Bolingbroke. King Richard leaves England to administer the war in Ireland, and Bolingbroke takes the opportunity to assemble an army and invade the north coast of England. When Richard returns, Bolingbroke first claims his land back but then additionally claims the throne. He crowns himself King Henry IV and Richard is taken into prison to the castle of Pomfret. After interpreting King Henry's "living fear" as a reference to the still-living Richard, an ambitious nobleman (Exton) goes to the prison and murders the former king. King Henry repudiates the murderer and vows to journey to Jerusalem to cleanse himself of his part in Richard's death.

  • 1 decade ago

    The above answer is much better than I could break down the plot. It's also a while since I've read it.

    The abridged version is this:

    Richard is King. He feels invincible as King and banishes his cousin Bolingbroke because he can. Bolingbroke's dad dies, Richard takes his money. Bolingbroke gets together some dudes and decides to come back and get what's his, and then overthrow Richard while he's at it. Richard slowly and painfully releases his throne and gives it to Bolingbroke because he is afraid of death and realizes how lonely and fickle being a King is. Bolingbroke puts Richard in prison. Bolingbroke's guys kill Richard. Bolingbroke becomes King and changes his name to Henry IV. Shakespeare's other Plays Henry IV Part 1 & 2 are the sequels.

    Source(s): I read it a year and a half ago so don't trust everything I say.
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