Edward II

by

Christopher Marlowe

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Bishop of Canterbury Character Analysis

The Bishop of Canterbury is the head of the Catholic Church in England. His anger with Edward II and Gaveston over the latter's assault on the Bishop of Coventry therefore reflects the king's broader and more general relationship to the Church, which Marlowe depicts as troubled: Edward resents the idea that a bishop—or even a pope—should have any authority over his actions as King of England. This is one area in which Edward would likely have appeared sympathetic to an Elizabethan audience, because England had recently broken away from the Catholic Church over precisely these sorts of jurisdictional issues.

Bishop of Canterbury Quotes in Edward II

The Edward II quotes below are all either spoken by Bishop of Canterbury or refer to Bishop of Canterbury . 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:
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Methuen Drama edition of Edward II published in 2014.
Act 1, Scene 2 Quotes

Bishop of Canterbury: …We and the rest that are his councillors
Will meet and with a general consent
Confirm his banishment with our hands and seals.

Lancaster: What we confirm the King will frustrate.

Mortimer Junior: Then may we lawfully revolt from him.

Related Characters: Mortimer Junior (speaker), The Earl of Lancaster (speaker), Bishop of Canterbury (speaker), Edward II, Piers Gaveston
Page Number: 1.2.69–73
Explanation and Analysis:
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Bishop of Canterbury Character Timeline in Edward II

The timeline below shows where the character Bishop of Canterbury appears in Edward II. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 2
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Language and Violence Theme Icon
The nobles' conversation comes to a halt as the Bishop of Canterbury enters, explaining to an attendant what happened to the Bishop of Coventry and telling him... (full context)
Fear of the Other and Internal Discord Theme Icon
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Language and Violence Theme Icon
...promising that the nobility will see Gaveston banished and even depose Edward if necessary. The Bishop of Canterbury , however, warns the nobles not to rebel against their king. This sparks a discussion... (full context)
Language and Violence Theme Icon
The nobles and the Bishop of Canterbury eventually agree to wait at the Bishop's residence for the council meeting to take place.... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 3
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
...Junior, and Lancaster (who “hath more earldoms than an ass can bear”) are at the Bishop of Canterbury's residence in Lambeth. He concludes by telling Kent to let the nobles stay there. (full context)
Act 1, Scene 4
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Archbishop of Canterbury and several nobles enter, putting their final signatures on the order for Gaveston's exile. Mortimer... (full context)
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...justice of their actions, but Edward refuses to speak to them. At this point, the Bishop of Canterbury intervenes and, urging Edward to be “patient,” presents the decree for Gaveston's banishment. Edward defiantly... (full context)
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
Fear of the Other and Internal Discord Theme Icon
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...they leave him “some nook or corner…to frolic with [his] dearest Gaveston.” Growing impatient, the Bishop of Canterbury and Lancaster again urge the King to sign the order. Mortimer Junior, meanwhile, questions why... (full context)
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...Senior says that that is beside the point: Gaveston should be exiled regardless. Satisfied, the Archbishop of Canterbury and all the nobles leave. (full context)
Act 5, Scene 4
Language and Violence Theme Icon
Trumpets sound, and Prince Edward enters, accompanied by Isabella, the Bishop of Canterbury , and a group of nobles. The Bishop proclaims the Prince to be king, and... (full context)