Fey, vain and foolish, young Richard initiates his downfall by banishing Henry Bolingbroke and the Earl of Mowbray as a resolution to their feud and then confiscating the lands of his uncle, Bolingbroke's father John of Gaunt,on John's death, to pay for a war in Ireland which he loses. This angers many courtiers including the Duke of York, who welcomes Bolingbroke back to England, where he executes Richard's flatterers. The king himself is soon taken prisoner and murdered in his cell. Bolingbroke, now proclaiming himself Henry IV, vows a pilgrimage to atone for his part in the regicide.
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Did You Know?
James Purefoy, who plays Thomas Mowbray, was in A Knight's Tale as the Black Prince of Wales, Richard II's father. See more
Characters repeatedly mispronounce "Hereford" as "Hair-ford". The character is called "HERFORD" in the text. That is how Shakespeare wrote it and intended it to be said - the production is respecting that. Pronouncing it "Hereford" doesn't fit the poetic metre. Spellings and pronunciations were simply far more variable then. See more
Let's talk of graves, of worms and epitaphs. Make dust our paper and with rainy eyes write sorrow on the bosom of the earth. Let's choose executors and talk of wills. And yet not so. For what can we bequeath , save our deposed bodies to the ground? Our lands, our lives and all are Bolingbroke's. And nothing can we call our own but death. And that small model of the barren earth wich serves as paste and cover to our bones. For god's sake, let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the ...
Followed by The Hollow Crown: Henry V