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The Tragedy of King Richard the second - In what ways do the speeches of the characters help you to understand the relationships between Richard, Bolingbroke and Mowbray in the play as a whole?

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Introduction

Melissa Cherry The Tragedy of King Richard the second In what ways do the speeches of the characters help you to understand the relationships between Richard, Bolingbroke and Mowbray in the play as a whole? In this scene Henry Bolingbroke and Thomas Mowbray are about to fight in the King's royal lists to settle a dispute that they had in the beginning of this act. We have learnt from previous scenes that the dispute they were having was over Bolingbroke's accusations to Mowbray. So now, they are both prepared to risk their lives in 'chivalrous design of knightly trial' to prove their honour and loyalty to the King. We learn very early in the play that they are stubborn and angry when Richard tells us that they are both 'high-stomach'd'. It's not surprising that Bolingbroke and Mowbray are 'foes' rather than friends. We know of the crimes that Mowbray is said to have committed and the crimes that he has definitely done, as Mowbray himself even confesses. ...read more.

Middle

Mowbray wants to prove his innocence not only to the King but also especially to God. It is important to Bolingbroke because he feels that he needs to prove his 'God's grace', he believes that he is doing well to God by killing Mowbray who is a blasphemer. Though this is strange for Bolingbroke to truly believe that he is going to win the fight and that 'heaven' will 'defend' him as he knows that it wasn't Mowbray who killed the Duke of Gloucester, and this being the main reason why the battle is taking place. It is believed that God will choose who will die in battles that take place in the royal lists, the one who dies is the one who was wrong. This is why Richard says in this passage that they will be 'lament' but they will not 'revenge thee dead' because if Bolingbroke dies it would be because the traitor. Bolingbroke agrees with him when he says: "O, let no noble eye profane a tear For me, if I be gored with Mowbray's spear!" ...read more.

Conclusion

However, this is not the only thing that distances the relationship between Bolingbroke and Richard even more, we must not forget that Bolingbroke is very powerful and very popular with the common people. There appears to be sarcasm and spitefulness in the tone of the passage later on in the play when he says: "How did he seem to dive into their hearts With humble and familiar courtesy;" Richard does have good relationships with his friends or his 'favourites' as they are described: Bushy, Bagot and Greene. He is also quite close to his other cousin Aumerle, showing that he doesn't dislike all his kinsmen. It seems that his favourites have importance on Richard's opinion of Bolingbroke. Even though Bolingbroke says a 'loving farewell' to his cousin, Aumerle in this passage, we it comes round to Aumerle's time to say 'farewell' to Bolingbroke, he cant bring himself to do so. This shows that it isn't only Richard, Bolingbroke and Mowbray who have bad relationships with their fellow nobles, but it is quite common throughout the play. ...read more.

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