List of Characters
King Richard II—King of England and grandson of the late King Edward III.
Edmund, Duke of York—Son of the late King Edward III; uncle to Richard II and Henry Bolingbroke and father of the Duke of Aumerle.
John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster—Another son of the late King Edward III; uncle to Richard II and father of Henry Bolingbroke.
Henry Bolingbroke (Bullingbrook), Duke of Hereford—John of Gaunt’s son and cousin to Richard II; later King Henry IV.
The Duke of Aumerle—Son of Edmund, Duke of York; cousin to Richard II and Henry Bolingbroke.
Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk—A nobleman who is accused of treason by Henry Bolingbroke.
The Earl of Salisbury—An ally of King Richard II who commands the English army when Richard is in Ireland.
The Earl of Berkeley—A nobleman and ally of the King.
Sir John Bushy—A courtier and favorite of King Richard II.
Sir William Bagot—Another courtier and royal favorite.
Sir Henry Green—A third courtier favored by the King.
The Earl of Northumberland—A nobleman who joins Henry Bolingbroke’s rebellion against King Richard.
Harry Percy—Son of the Earl of Northumberland who joins his father in his alliance with Bolingbroke.
Lord Ross—An ally of the Earl of Northumberland who joins in Bolingbroke’s rebellion.
Lord Willoughby—Another ally of the...
(The entire section is 445 words.)
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Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
King Richard II
King Richard II, a self-indulgent and irresponsible ruler. He neglects the welfare of his country and brings on his own downfall. He is insolent in his treatment of his dying uncle, John of Gaunt, and greedy in his seizure of the property of his banished cousin, Henry Bolingbroke. To his lovely young queen he gives sentimental devotion. Being forced to give up the crown, he wallows in poetic self-pity, playing with his sorrow and theatrically portraying himself as a Christ figure. He dies well.
Henry Bolingbroke (BOL-ihn-brook), the duke of Hereford (afterward King Henry IV), the son of John of Gaunt. Able and ambitious, and roused to anger by Richard’s injustice and ineptitude, he forces the latter to abdicate. Although as king he desires the death of his deposed and imprisoned cousin, he laments the death and banishes the murderer permanently from his presence.
John of Gaunt
John of Gaunt (gahnt), the duke of Lancaster, the uncle of King Richard. Grieved by the banishment of his son and his country’s decline, he delivers a beautiful and impassioned praise of England and a lament for its degradation under Richard. Angered by Richard’s insulting behavior, he dies delivering a curse on the young king that is carried out in the future.
Edmund of Langley
Edmund of Langley, the duke of York, the uncle of the king. Eager to do right and imbued with patriotism and loyalty, he is torn and troubled by the behavior of Richard as king and Bolingbroke as rebel. As protector of the realm in Richard’s absence, he is helpless before Bolingbroke’s power and yields to him. He bestows his loyalty on Bolingbroke when he becomes King Henry IV.
Queen to King Richard
Queen to King Richard, a gentle, loving wife. Grief-stricken, she angrily wishes that her gardener, from whom she hears the news of Richard’s downfall, may henceforth labor in vain. She shares with the king a tender and sorrowful parting.
The gardener, a truly Shakespearean creation, unlike any character in Christopher Marlowe’s Edward...
(The entire section is 917 words.)