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MonkeyNotes-Richard II by William Shakespeare
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Northumberland - As a loyal follower of Richard at the beginning of the play, Northumberland excuses his lord's behavior on the grounds that he is "basely led by flatterers." He is persuaded to revolt against Richard by Ross and Willoughby, and he becomes Bolingbroke's trusted lieutenant. He also serves as Bolingbroke's chief representative to Richard in the matters of abdication and the terms of Richard's banishment. At the end of the play, he orders Richard to Pomfret and his queen to France, proving his devotion to Bolingbroke.

Harry Percy (Hotspur) - Hotspur is Northumberland's son, who offers his services to Bolingbroke. He has only a few lines in the play, most of which are announcements of news or murmuring of agreement with his father's opinions.

Duchess of York - She is the wife of York and mother of Aumerle. She is trapped by her loyalty to both of them in the conspiracy scene. She lets maternal love outweigh her distaste for Aumerle's treason. She intercedes on her son's behalf with Bolingbroke. The dignity of her age and rank are contrasted with the pitiful and deferential role that she takes upon herself.

Duchess of Gloucester - She is the sister-in-law of John of Gaunt and York. She appears in one short scene as a grieving widow and requests Gaunt to avenge his brother's murder by Richard. Fiery and inconsolable, she is passionately loyal to her country and furious with Richard. She disappears from the play in Act II when her death is announced.

Bishop of Carlisle - He is an ardent supporter of Richard who vehemently opposes his abdication. His finest moment in the play is the Parliament scene, where he urges the lords not to attack their Christian, anointed king. He is arrested for treason, but ultimately pardoned by Bolingbroke.

Duke of Surrey - He is modeled on the historical Thomas Holland, also 3rd Earl of Kent. He defends Aumerle against a charge of treason, joins the rebellion against Henry IV and is captured and killed. He is also referred to in the play as Kent in Act V, Scene 6. He speaks twice in the Act IV Parliament scene, where he hurls accusations at Fitzwater.

Abbot of Westminster - After Richard's abdication, the Abbot invites Aumerle and the Bishop of Carlisle to supper with the promise to "lay a plot shall show us all a merry day." He is a conspirator against Bolingbroke.

Lord Ross - A supporter of Bolingbroke, with Willoughby. He has few lines.

Willoughby - A supporter of Bolingbroke. He plays a minor part in the play.

Lord Fitzwater - Fitzwater exposes Aumerle's involvement in Gloucester's murder in the Parliament scene. He accuses Aumerle of being a traitor and challenges Surrey, Aumerle's defender, to a duel. This is his most important moment in the play. His only other appearance occurs when he informs Bolingbroke of victory over the rebels at Oxford.

Earl of Salisbury - One of Richard's courtiers, he is in charge of the army when Richard goes to Ireland. He is distressed by the defection of the Welsh army and brings this sad news to his lord. He later rebels against Bolingbroke (Henry IV) but is captured and executed.

Sir Piers Exton - mistaking Bolingbroke's words, "Have I no friend will rid me of this living fear?," as an encouragement to murder Richard, Exton rushes to Pomfret Castle and does the deed. He is banished by Bolingbroke for his crime.

Sir Stephen Scroop - He is a supporter of Richard, who brings him the devastating news that the commoners have joined Bolingbroke's side in the rebellion. He also reports the death of Bushy and Green.

Lord Berkeley - He is a messenger from York to Bolingbroke who appears only once to ask Bolingbroke why he has returned armed to England. He is swept from the limelight as soon as York himself appears.

Bushy - He is as unimportant as that other royal favorite, Green. He has a brief scene with Queen Isabel where he comforts her with his mellifluous courtier's jargon.

Bagot - A parasitic follower of Richard. He is the highest-ranking of Richard's three favorites and the chief "caterpillar of the commonwealth."

Green - The least vocal of Richard's favorites. His handful of lines is purely formal, and he is given no personality.

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MonkeyNotes-Richard II by William Shakespeare


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