Edward II

by

Christopher Marlowe

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Mortimer Junior Character Analysis

Mortimer Junior is a powerful member of the English nobility and, eventually, the lead challenger to Edward II's rule. As Marlowe states outright in the play's full title, Mortimer is extremely “proud,” and he views the presence and influence of Gaveston—a commoner—as an affront to his own rightful position and dignity. Further exacerbating Mortimer's resentment is the fact that Gaveston encourages the king to spend money on pageants and plays rather than military matters. Besides being rather militant and hot-tempered himself, Mortimer feels (or at least expresses) a sense of obligation to the former soldiers now in need of pensions. Although Mortimer never makes any secret of his discontent, it is likely Edward's unwillingness to pay ransom for the return of Mortimer Junior’s uncle, Mortimer Senior, that pushes him into open rebellion. While Mortimer’s initial resistance to Edward II seems to be based on a degree of principle, he grows increasingly less sympathetic as he rises to a position of power. He has Edward murdered, despite Edward’s willingness to abdicate the throne, and after becoming the lover of Edward’s wife, Isabella, he uses his relationship with her to manipulate both her and her young son Edward III—the new king. The courage and resignation with which he faces his own execution at the end of the play, however, do restore a sense of dignity to him in the play's final moments.

Mortimer Junior Quotes in Edward II

The Edward II quotes below are all either spoken by Mortimer Junior or refer to Mortimer Junior. 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 1 Quotes

Come uncle, let us leave the brainsick King,
And henceforth parley with our naked swords.

Related Characters: Mortimer Junior (speaker), Edward II, Piers Gaveston, Mortimer Senior
Page Number: 1.1.124–125
Explanation and Analysis:
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:
Act 1, Scene 4 Quotes

Edward: Lay hands on that traitor Mortimer!

Mortimer Senior: Lay hands on that traitor Gaveston!

[The NOBLES draw swords]

Kent: Is this the duty that you owe your King?

Warwick: We know our duties; let him know his peers.

Related Characters: Edward II (speaker), Edmund, Earl of Kent (speaker), Mortimer Senior (speaker), Guy, Earl of Warwick (speaker), Piers Gaveston, Mortimer Junior
Page Number: 1.4.20–23
Explanation and Analysis:

Edward: Fawn not on me, French strumpet; get thee gone.

Isabella: On whom but on my husband should I fawn?

Gaveston: On Mortimer, with whom, ungentle Queen—
I say no more; judge you the rest, my lord.

Related Characters: Edward II (speaker), Piers Gaveston (speaker), Isabella (speaker), Mortimer Junior
Page Number: 1.4.145–148
Explanation and Analysis:

His wanton humour grieves not me,
But this I scorn, that one so basely born
Should by his sovereign's favour grow so pert,
And riot it with the treasure of the realm
While soldiers mutiny for want of pay.
He wear's a lord's revenue on his back,
And Midas-like he jets it in the court
With base outlandish cullions at his heels,
Whose proud fantastic liveries make such show
As if that Proteus, god of shapes, appeared.
I have not seen a dapper jack so brisk;
He wears a short Italian hooded cloak,
Larded with pearl; and in his Tuscan cap
A jewel of more value than the crown.
Whiles other walk below, the King and he
From out a window laugh at such as we,
And flout our train and jest at our attire.

Related Characters: Mortimer Junior (speaker), Edward II, Piers Gaveston
Page Number: 1.4.403–419
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2, Scene 2 Quotes

Base leaden earls that glory in your birth,
Go sit at home and eat your tenants' beef,
And come not here to scoff at Gaveston,
Whose mounting thoughts did never creep so low
As to bestow a look on such as you.

Page Number: 2.2.74–78
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 3, Scene 3 Quotes

Mortimer Junior: Then, Edward, thou wilt fight it to the last,
And rather bathe thy sword in subjects' blood
Than banish that pernicious company?

Edward: Ay, traitors all! Rather than thus be braved,
Make England's civil towns huge heaps of stones
And ploughs to go about our palace gates.

Warwick: A desperate and unnatural resolution.

Related Characters: Edward II (speaker), Mortimer Junior (speaker), Guy, Earl of Warwick (speaker), Spencer Junior
Page Number: 3.3.27–33
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 4, Scene 4 Quotes

Isabella:…A heavy case,
When force to force is knit, and sword and glaive
In civil broils make kin and countrymen
Slaughter themselves in others, and their sides
With their own weapons gored. But what's the help?
Misgoverned kings are cause of all this wrack;
And Edward, thou art one among them all,
Whose looseness hath betrayed thy land to spoil
And made the channels overflow with blood.
Of thine own people patron shouldst thou be,
But thou—

Mortimer Junior: Nay madam, if you be a warrior,
Ye must not grow so passionate in speeches.

Related Characters: Mortimer Junior (speaker), Isabella (speaker), Edward II
Page Number: 4.4.4–15
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 5, Scene 1 Quotes

But what are kings, when regiment is gone,
But perfect shadows in a sunshine day?
My nobles rule; I bear the name of King.
I wear the crown, but am controlled by them

Related Characters: Edward II (speaker), Mortimer Junior
Related Symbols: The Sun
Page Number: 5.1.27–30
Explanation and Analysis:

Well may I rend his name that rends my heart!
This poor revenge hath something eased my mind.
So may his limbs be torn, as is this paper!

Related Characters: Edward II (speaker), Mortimer Junior
Page Number: 5.1.140–142
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 5, Scene 6 Quotes

King Edward III: Traitor, in me my loving father speaks
And plainly saith, 'twas thou that murd'redst him.

Mortimer Junior: But hath your grace no other proof than this?

King Edward III: Yes, if this be the hand of Mortimer.

[He presents the letter]

Related Characters: Mortimer Junior (speaker), Prince Edward/Edward III (speaker), Edward II
Page Number: 5.6.41–44
Explanation and Analysis:

Base Fortune, now I see that in thy wheel
There is a point to which, when men aspire,
They tumble headlong down; that point I touched,
And seeing there was no place to mount up higher,
Why should I grieve at my declining fall?

Related Characters: Mortimer Junior (speaker)
Page Number: 5.6.59–63
Explanation and Analysis:
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Edward II PDF

Mortimer Junior Character Timeline in Edward II

The timeline below shows where the character Mortimer Junior appears in Edward II. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Language and Violence Theme Icon
...is again interrupted, this time by the arrival of Edward and several nobles: Lancaster, Warwick, Mortimer Senior, Mortimer Junior, and Kent. Edward is attempting to persuade the nobility to allow Gaveston's... (full context)
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
Fear of the Other and Internal Discord Theme Icon
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...to Edward, Kent urges his brother to execute the nobles as a warning to others. Mortimer Junior responds to this threat with one of his own, saying that the nobles will... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
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Some time after The Bishop of Coventry's arrest, Warwick and Lancaster meet with Mortimer Senior and Mortimer Junior to discuss the situation.  Warwick confirms that Coventry is in prison... (full context)
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...not need to, because “God himself is up in arms.” He does, however, agree with Mortimer Junior that Gaveston should be banished or beheaded. (full context)
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Mortimer Junior notices Queen Isabella walking past in a hurry, and asks her where she is... (full context)
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Mortimer Junior tells Isabella to return to court, promising that the nobility will see Gaveston banished... (full context)
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...for the council meeting to take place. As the men leave, Isabella again pleads with Mortimer Junior not to go to war with Edward. Mortimer promises not to, but only if... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 3
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Gaveston and Kent enter, deep in conversation. Gaveston explains that Warwick, Mortimer Senior, Mortimer Junior, and Lancaster (who “hath more earldoms than an ass can bear”) are... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 4
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...Canterbury and several nobles enter, putting their final signatures on the order for Gaveston's exile. Mortimer Junior is especially hopeful that the addition of his name will intimidate Edward. (full context)
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...the King: “Ignoble vassal, that like Phaëthon / Aspir'st unto the guidance of the sun.” Mortimer Junior, however, assures his fellow nobles that Edward and Gaveston's “downfall is at hand.” This... (full context)
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Enraged, Edward threatens to kill the nobles if they leave with Gaveston. Mortimer Senior says that it is unfair to threaten them as if they were “traitors,” and... (full context)
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Mortimer Junior and Warwick continue to defend the justice of their actions, but Edward refuses to... (full context)
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
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...impatient, the Bishop of Canterbury and Lancaster again urge the King to sign the order. Mortimer Junior, meanwhile, questions why Edward “should love him whom the world hates so,” and Edward... (full context)
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Lancaster takes the signed order to display publically, while Mortimer Junior goes to see to Gaveston. Pembroke speculates that the common people will profit from... (full context)
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...Isabella questions who she should “fawn on” if not her husband, and Gaveston responds with Mortimer Junior's name, implying the two are having an affair. Isabella denies the accusation, saying it... (full context)
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Lancaster, Warwick, Pembroke, Mortimer Senior, and Mortimer Junior enter and witness Isabella's distress. The nobles speculate that Edward must... (full context)
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As Mortimer Junior and Isabella talk privately, Lancaster asks the other nobles for assurance that they will... (full context)
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When Mortimer Junior rejoins the nobles, he says that while he hates Gaveston, he is now convinced... (full context)
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The nobles agree that Mortimer Junior's plan is sound but are not entirely convinced. He therefore points out additional advantages:... (full context)
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...has “news” for him, which Edward immediately implies is evidence of her supposed affair with Mortimer Junior. Isabella ignores this and informs him that Gaveston will soon return, asking whether this... (full context)
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...will be his “chiefest counsellor,” Pembroke will carry the sword of state on official occasions, Mortimer Junior will be Lord Marshal, and Mortimer Senior will lead the army that is ready... (full context)
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...have restated their obedience to his wishes. Isabella, Pembroke, Warwick, and Lancaster also exit, leaving Mortimer Senior and Mortimer Junior alone. (full context)
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Mortimer Senior reminds Mortimer Junior that he will soon be leaving for Scotland, and urges his... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
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...of the recently deceased Earl of Gloucester—enter, discussing whom they should serve now. Spencer rejects Mortimer on the grounds that he is feuding with Edward II, and proposes seeking out the... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
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Edward, Isabella, Lancaster, Mortimer Junior, Warwick, Pembroke, and Kent are waiting for Gaveston's arrival. The King is impatient and... (full context)
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Mortimer Junior describes the scene that will decorate his shield: “A lofty cedar tree fair flourishing…And... (full context)
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In an aside to the other nobles, Mortimer Junior worries that Gaveston's presence will just deepen Edward's fervor. At that very moment, however,... (full context)
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As Gaveston leaves, Isabella laments Mortimer Junior's rash actions. Mortimer, unrepentant, implies that his only regret is that he didn’t kill... (full context)
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Warwick, Mortimer Junior, Lancaster, and Pembroke are now more convinced than ever of the need for Gaveston's... (full context)
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As the nobles make plans, a messenger arrives with a letter from Scotland, informing Mortimer Junior that his uncle, Mortimer Senior, is being held for ransom. Mortimer feels that Edward... (full context)
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A guard arrives just as Mortimer Junior is hinting darkly at what he will do if Edward does not agree to... (full context)
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Edward begins to complain about the behavior of Lancaster and Mortimer Junior, but the nobles cut him off in order to list their own grievances: that... (full context)
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Mortimer Junior and Lancaster leave, resolving to sell the Mortimer castle for ransom money and then... (full context)
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...the nobles going to war, and Edward again taunts her about her supposed affair with Mortimer Junior. Lady Margaret and Gaveston, who have entered with Isabella, urge Edward to be kinder... (full context)
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Edward and Gaveston discuss what to do about Mortimer Junior now that he is openly threatening “civil wars”: Gaveston favors imprisoning or murdering him,... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
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Kent appears before Lancaster, Mortimer Junior, Warwick, and Pembroke, saying that “love to this [their] native land” has compelled him... (full context)
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...and Edward are “frolicking” in Tynemouth, and the nobles resolve to attack the castle, with Mortimer Junior declaring that he will raise the “tattered ensign of [his] ancestors.” Although Lancaster warns... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 4
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...says goodbye to both Gaveston and Lady Margaret, but only bids farewell to Isabella “for Mortimer, [her] lover's sake.” Everyone then leaves except for Isabella, who reiterates that she loves no... (full context)
Fear of the Other and Internal Discord Theme Icon
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Lancaster, Warwick, and Mortimer Junior burst in. They are searching for Edward, and Mortimer interrupts Isabella's lament about her... (full context)
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...as a group. Before they leave, however, a dispute arises about where Isabella should go: Mortimer urges her to either stay in place or go with him, but Isabella declines, saying... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 5
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Lancaster, Warwick, Pembroke, Mortimer Junior, and their forces chase after Gaveston, who is taunting them as he enters. Mortimer... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 3
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Mortimer Junior, Kent, Lancaster, Warwick, and Pembroke appear, and the two sides exchange boasts and insults.... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 4
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...Baldock, and Levune appear, and they have a number of nobles (Kent, Warwick, Lancaster, and Mortimer Junior) under guard. Edward is boasting about his victory, which he attributes to “justice” rather... (full context)
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Mortimer Junior laments the state of the country, which he addresses directly: “England, unkind to thy... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
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...to [his] country's cause.” Nevertheless, he remains where he is, waiting for the arrival of Mortimer Junior, who has devised a plan to escape his captors. Mortimer duly appears, though in... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
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...her and agrees to go to Hainault. At that moment, however, she notices Kent and Mortimer Junior entering. (full context)
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Isabella is surprised to see Kent and Mortimer Junior, whom she had heard were dead. Mortimer, however, explains that he is "reserved for... (full context)
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Sir John urges Kent and Mortimer Junior to accompany Isabella to Hainault, where they will be able to raise both money... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
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...money he has spent there. Finally, he asks whether Spencer has issued a reward for Mortimer Junior's capture and dismisses the idea that Mortimer could have slipped out of the country. (full context)
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...buying off the French nobility and that Isabella, disappointed, went to Hainault with Kent and Mortimer Junior to raise an army. The news of Mortimer's escape and Kent's betrayal angers Edward,... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 4
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Isabella, Mortimer Junior, Kent, Prince Edward, and Sir John arrive in England. Isabella laments the necessity of... (full context)
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Mortimer Junior interrupts Isabella and tells her that she must be less “passionate” in speech if... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 5
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...to “punish this unnatural revolt.” However, he then chastises himself for speaking so openly, knowing Mortimer Junior will kill him if he discovers his loyalties have changed. Finally, Kent confirms for... (full context)
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Isabella, Mortimer Junior, Prince Edward, and Sir John now appear as well. Isabella appoints Prince Edward viceroy... (full context)
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Kent asks Isabella what she intends to do with Edward II, and Mortimer Junior grows irritated, saying that that is a matter for Parliament to decide. Privately, however,... (full context)
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...her "lord's ill fortune," but says she had no choice but to go to war. Mortimer Junior, however, brushes Isabella's qualms aside, saying that Edward “wronged [the] country and himself.” (full context)
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Mortimer Junior gives orders for Spencer Senior's execution, but the latter condemns Mortimer and Isabella as... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 6
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...betrayed. Baldock explains that bad weather thwarted their voyage to Ireland, leaving them vulnerable to Mortimer Junior. At this, Edward exclaims, “Who wounds me with the name of Mortimer, / That... (full context)
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...begins to say his goodbye to his companions, blaming their misfortunes on “hell and cruel Mortimer.” Meanwhile, the Abbot looks on, distressed to see a king “bear these words and proud... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
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...king, he says, he cannot help but chafe against his imprisonment at the hands of Mortimer Junior and his “unnatural queen” Isabella. Almost as soon as he has vowed to seek... (full context)
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...by arguing that they “crave the crown” for the sake of England and Prince Edward—not Mortimer Junior. Edward, however, suspects that Mortimer plans to take power himself and hopes that the... (full context)
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...takes off his crown, remarking that while it is hard to stomach the thought of Mortimer Junior as king, his fate leaves him no choice. He further asks for death, since... (full context)
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...definite answer from Edward about whether he will give up the crown. Edward responds that Mortimer Junior and the other “traitors” can do as they wish, but that he will not... (full context)
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...tears”—to take to Isabella. He fears for Prince Edward's safety while his son is under Mortimer Junior's care, but hopes the Prince will prove a better ruler than he himself did.... (full context)
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...and appoints Berkeley as Edward's guard. Edward tears up the letter, which was written by Mortimer Junior, but resigns himself to go with Berkeley on the grounds that he can only... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
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At court, Mortimer Junior rejoices in the execution of Edward's supporters as well as at the imprisonment of... (full context)
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...custody. He warns, however, that Berkeley may pity the King too much to be trustworthy. Mortimer Junior consequently plans to move Edward, but Isabella hints that it might be safer to... (full context)
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Mortimer Junior summons Gourney and Maltravers, entrusting the latter with a message dismissing Berkeley. He then... (full context)
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Gourney leaves, and Mortimer Junior tells Isabella in an aside to keep up her pretense: Prince Edward and Kent... (full context)
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...his father wants to have happen. Isabella, however, says that this is impossible, and she, Mortimer Junior, and Kent begin to argue: Kent doubts the couple's sincerity, and Mortimer Junior claims... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
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...whether he will ever be allowed to rest, and offers up his heart to satisfy Mortimer Junior's desire for revenge. He then remarks that he will likely die soon anyway: he... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 4
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Speaking aloud to himself, Mortimer Junior decides that only Edward's death will ensure his own safety. He fears reprisal from... (full context)
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Mortimer Junior calls Lightborne in, and the two discuss the plans for Edward's murder. Lightborne scoffs... (full context)
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Lightborne leaves, and Mortimer Junior takes stock of his position, which allows him to control both Prince Edward and... (full context)
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...free Edward II but insists that in doing so he was serving the true king. Mortimer Junior then orders Kent's execution over the pleas of Edward III, insisting that he does... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 5
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Just then, Lightborne enters and hands Mortimer Junior's letter to Gourney and Maltravers. Lightborne also shows them the token Mortimer gave him,... (full context)
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...Gourney quickly stabs Lighborne. The two men then leave, intending to take Edward's body to Mortimer Junior after throwing Lightborne's in the moat. (full context)
Act 5, Scene 6
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Maltravers informs Mortimer Junior that both Edward and Lightborne are dead. However, he also reveals that Gourney has... (full context)
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...in distress, explaining that Edward III knows about Edward II's death and suspects her and Mortimer Junior of ordering it. Mortimer is unconcerned, but Isabella explains that her son has already... (full context)
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Hailing Mortimer Junior as a “villain,” Edward III says he knows that Mortimer murdered Edward II and... (full context)
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Mortimer Junior challenges Edward III to provide evidence, at which point Edward III produces the letter... (full context)
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Isabella continues to plead with Edward III, begging him to spare Mortimer Junior's life. Edward, however, takes his mother’s pleading as evidence of her own guilt, although... (full context)
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Isabella is escorted to prison as a lord returns with Mortimer Junior's head. Edward III then asks his attendants to prepare Edward II's hearse, and as... (full context)