Act I Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. What accusations does Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Hereford, bring against Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk?

2. How does King Richard decide to settle the conflict between Bolingbroke and Mowbray?

3. Who does John of Gaunt blame for the Duke of Gloucester’s murder?

4. Why does the Duchess of Gloucester revoke her invitation for her brother-in-law, the Duke of York, to visit her?

5. What signal does the King give to halt the combat between Bolingbroke and Mowbray before it begins?

6. What penalties does King Richard initially impose on Bolingbroke and Mowbray?

7. What oath does King Richard make Bolingbroke and Mowbray swear upon his sword?

8. Why does King Richard change the sentence he imposes on Bolingbroke, and what are the terms of his new sentence?

9. How do we know that Bolingbroke is popular among the common people?

10. What is King Richard’s response when he learns that John of Gaunt is seriously ill?

1. Bolingbroke accuses Mowbray of misappropriating funds intended for the King’s military forces in France. He also accuses Mowbray of plotting the Duke of Gloucester’s murder.

2. King Richard, after failing in his attempts to arbitrate the conflict between Bolingbroke and Mowbray, decrees that they will meet in man to man combat “At Coventry upon Saint Lambert’s Day.”

3. Gaunt tells his sister-in-law that King Richard was responsible for her husband’s murder.

4. The Duchess of Gloucester rescinds her invitation to the Duke of York when she realizes that sorrow will make her a poor hostess.

5. The King throws down his warder (a short staff of office) to halt the combat between Bolingbroke and Mowbray.

6. King Richard banishes Bolingbroke for ten years. He banishes Mowbray for life.

7. The King makes Bolingbroke and Mowbray swear that they will not “embrace each other’s love in banishment,/ Nor never look upon each other’s face,/ Nor never write, regreet, nor reconcile/ This louring tempest of your home-bred hate.” He also makes them pledge never to meet purposefully “To plot, contrive, or complot any ill/ ’Gainst us, our state, our subjects, or our land.”

8. King Richard changes Bolingbroke’s sentence when he sees that Bolingbroke’s father, John of Gaunt, looks sad at the thought of his son’s exile. He reduces Bolingbroke’s banishment to six years.

9. The King remarks that he and his courtiers have observed Bolingbroke courting the common people’s favor: “How he did seem to dive into their hearts/ With humble and familiar courtesy/ …Wooing poor craftsmen with the craft of smiles.”

10. King Richard rejoices when he learns that John of Gaunt is ill. He expresses the hope that Gaunt will die so he can seize his money and lands to help finance his military campaign in Ireland.

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Act II Questions and Answers