Richard II

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Edmund of Langley, Duke of York Character Analysis

The Duke of York is Gaunt’s brother and Richard’s uncle. Like Gaunt, the Duke of York is loyal to Richard, even though he sympathizes with Henry and urges the king not to disinherit him. When Richard leaves for England, he leaves the Duke of York in charge of the country, but York, after scolding Henry for breaking the king’s mandate of exile, surrenders almost immediately to Henry’s forces and ultimately joins with the usurper.

Edmund of Langley, Duke of York Quotes in Richard II

The Richard II quotes below are all either spoken by Edmund of Langley, Duke of York or refer to Edmund of Langley, Duke of York. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Throne Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Simon & Schuster edition of Richard II published in 2005.
Act 2, Scene 2 Quotes

O, but they say the tongues of dying men
Enforce attention like deep harmony.
Where words are since, they are seldom spent in vain,
For they breathe truth that breathe their words in pain.
He that no more must say is listened more
Than they whom youth and ease have taught to gloze.

Related Characters: John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster (speaker), King Richard II, Edmund of Langley, Duke of York
Page Number: 2.1.5-13
Explanation and Analysis:

Gaunt speaks these lines while deathly ill after his son’s banishment. He says them to his brother York, after saying that he hopes to see Richard again before he dies to give him some final advice. The reason Gaunt believes this last meeting to be important is that “the tongues of dying men” (i.e. speeches from people who are about to die) carry more weight than those of regular, healthy people. Gaunt suggests that last words are rarely unimportant or spent in vain, and that they are most often important truths. Someone uttering their last speech, according to Gaunt, will be listened to more carefully than a young smooth talker (“someone taught to gloze”). Ultimately, though, Gaunt’s illness is used as the reason for Richard to ignore Gaunt’s dying speech.

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Edmund of Langley, Duke of York Character Timeline in Richard II

The timeline below shows where the character Edmund of Langley, Duke of York appears in Richard II. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 2, Scene 1
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...begins with John of Gaunt, who is sick, talking with his brother the Duke of York. Gaunt hopes the king will visit so he has the opportunity to give final advice... (full context)
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...Richard has already killed a son of Edward III: Gloucester. Gaunt exits the stage, and York urges the king to take the rant as only the ravings of a very sick... (full context)
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...to seize all of Gaunt’s property to support the war in Ireland. At this decision, York starts to speak out against Richard, saying that though he has remained patient through the... (full context)
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Ultimately, though, Richard ignores York and takes the land and money anyways. After York exits, Richard sends his men out... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
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...Northumberland, Ross, and Willoughby. After Richard’s Queen says this must be the grief she foresaw, York enters and says that he is too old and weak to properly defend England. (full context)
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A servant enters and informs everyone that the Duchess of Gloucester has died. York says that though he is related to both Henry and Richard, and he acknowledges that... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
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...to his rightful inheritance, including the title of Lancaster. Berkeley says that the Duke of York has sent him. (full context)
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York then enters and begins scolding Henry for violating Richard’s decree of banishment by stepping again... (full context)
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...back to England to claim a new one that is rightfully his (“Lancaster”). Henry tells York that he sees his father in him, and asks the Duke to look past the... (full context)
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Northumberland and the other nobles agree that Henry has been mistreated, and even York agrees that Richard has been unfair and a subpar king. York says, however, that staging... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
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...banish and disinherit him. Henry thus sentences Bushy and Green to death. He then instructs York treat the Richard’s Queen fairly. (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
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...will fight Henry, but almost immediately again he is broken with the bad news that York has joined up with the potential usurper. Richard cries out, asking what could possibly make... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 3
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...the coast. Northumberland reports that it is good news, and that Richard is hiding nearby. York then corrects him, since Northumberland, accidentally or not, left off the title “king” when referring... (full context)
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...Henry compares the king to a “discontented sun” that is jealous of the clouds, but York remarks that Richard still looks like a king. (full context)
Act 3, Scene 4
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In the Duke of York’s garden, Richard’s Queen is still sad, despite the efforts of a Lady to cheer her... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
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After a snarky comment from Carlisle, York enters and says that Richard has agreed to make Henry his heir and descend from... (full context)
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...men and all of England itself. He then asks why he has been summoned, and York answers that it is to publicly resign and pass the crown to Henry. (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
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This scene begins with a conversation between York and his wife the Duchess of York. The Duke has been telling his wife the... (full context)
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...their son, Aumerle, enters, though he has lost his title since the change in power. York notices a piece of paper on Aumerle’s person and demands to see it. When he... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
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...he wants to lock the door to the room for privacy, and Henry consents, though York soon begins knocking and crying out that Henry should beware. Alerted to danger, Henry draws... (full context)
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York then gives Henry the writing that revealed the plot. While Henry cries out about the... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 6
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King Henry reports to York that he still awaits news on the rebels. Northumberland then enters and says that they... (full context)