Edward II

by

Christopher Marlowe

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The Earl of Lancaster Character Analysis

Other than Mortimer Junior, Lancaster is perhaps the most outspoken of the lords who oppose Gaveston's relationship with Edward. He repeatedly warns the king, for instance, that his favoritism places his rule in jeopardy, and is ultimately eager to join forces with the other nobles to kill Gaveston and depose Edward. He is also presumably one of the most powerful members of the English nobility, since he is earl not only of Lancaster but also of Derby, Salisbury, and Lincoln. Interestingly, Gaveston says in an aside that he "abhors" Lancaster in particular—perhaps because of both the earl’s power and his vehemence in opposing Gaveston himself.

The Earl of Lancaster Quotes in Edward II

The Edward II quotes below are all either spoken by The Earl of Lancaster or refer to The Earl of Lancaster . 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

My lord, why do you thus incense your peers
That naturally would love and honour you,
But for that base and obscure Gaveston?

Related Characters: The Earl of Lancaster (speaker), Edward II, Piers Gaveston
Page Number: 1.1.98–100
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 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:

Lancaster: Look for rebellion, look to be deposed:
Thy garrisons are beaten out of France,
And, lame and poor, lie groaning at the gates;
The wild O'Neill, with swarms of Irish kerns,
Lives uncontrolled within the English pale;
Unto the walls of York the Scots made road
And, unresisted, drove away rich spoils.

Mortimer Junior: The haughty Dane commands the narrow seas,
While in the harbour ride thy ships unrigged.

Related Characters: The Earl of Lancaster (speaker), Edward II
Page Number: 2.2.158–164
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2, Scene 4 Quotes

Monster of men,
That, like the Greekish strumpet, trained to arms
And bloody wars so many valiant knights,
Look for no other fortune, wretch, than death;
King Edward is not here to buckler thee.

Related Characters: The Earl of Lancaster (speaker), Edward II, Piers Gaveston
Page Number: 2.4.14–18
Explanation and Analysis:
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Edward II PDF

The Earl of Lancaster Character Timeline in Edward II

The timeline below shows where the character The Earl of Lancaster 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
Gaveston 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... (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
Language and Violence Theme Icon
...the nobles and openly stating his intention to have Gaveston by his side. In response, Lancaster questions why Edward should prefer the low-born Gaveston to those who would “naturally…love and honour... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
Fear of the Other and Internal Discord Theme Icon
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Language and Violence Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Language and Violence Theme Icon
...Bishop of Coventry and telling him to relay the message to the Pope. Hearing this, Lancaster asks whether Canterbury intends to “take arms against the King,” to which Canterbury replies that... (full context)
Fear of the Other and Internal Discord Theme Icon
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Language and Violence Theme Icon
...Gaveston can be removed without violence: Canterbury favors drafting a decree for Gaveston's exile, but Lancaster anticipates that Edward would simply ignore any order Canterbury and the rest of the King's... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 3
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
...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 at the Bishop of Canterbury's... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 4
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
Fear of the Other and Internal Discord Theme Icon
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Language and Violence Theme Icon
...that “were [Gaveston] a peasant, being [his] minion, / [he'd] make the proudest…stoop to him.” Lancaster responds that the King cannot speak to the nobles so disrespectfully, and Gaveston and Kent... (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
...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 Edward “should... (full context)
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Lancaster takes the signed order to display publically, while Mortimer Junior goes to see to Gaveston.... (full context)
Language and Violence Theme Icon
Lancaster, Warwick, Pembroke, Mortimer Senior, and Mortimer Junior enter and witness Isabella's distress. The nobles speculate... (full context)
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
Language and Violence Theme Icon
As Mortimer Junior and Isabella talk privately, Lancaster asks the other nobles for assurance that they will not change their minds about Gaveston's... (full context)
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Language and Violence Theme Icon
...they should bring him back to England “for the realm's behoof and for the King's.” Lancaster erupts, calling Mortimer's honor into question and denying that there can be any good in... (full context)
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Isabella reminds Edward of the nobles, who are now kneeling before him. Edward addresses Lancaster first, urging him to, “as gross vapours perish by the sun, / Even so let... (full context)
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
...and leaves after they have restated their obedience to his wishes. Isabella, Pembroke, Warwick, and Lancaster also exit, leaving Mortimer Senior and Mortimer Junior alone. (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
Language and Violence Theme Icon
Edward, Isabella, Lancaster, Mortimer Junior, Warwick, Pembroke, and Kent are waiting for Gaveston's arrival. The King is impatient... (full context)
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
Fear of the Other and Internal Discord Theme Icon
Language and Violence Theme Icon
...me up / And gets unto the highest bough of all.” Edward then asks what Lancaster's device will be, and Lancaster describes a flying fish being captured by a bird. The... (full context)
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
Language and Violence Theme Icon
...creep so low / As to bestow a look on such as [them].” In response, Lancaster draws his sword. Edward attempts to remove Gaveston to safety, but Mortimer Junior succeeds in... (full context)
Fear of the Other and Internal Discord Theme Icon
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Language and Violence Theme Icon
...regret is that he didn’t kill Gaveston. Edward responds by sending both Mortimer Junior and Lancaster away from court. Edward further implies that they are in danger of being executed, to... (full context)
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Language and Violence Theme Icon
Warwick, Mortimer Junior, Lancaster, and Pembroke are now more convinced than ever of the need for Gaveston's death. They... (full context)
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Language and Violence Theme Icon
...this money, since Mortimer Senior was fighting on his behalf when he was captured, and Lancaster offers to go with him to make this case to the King. Meanwhile, Warwick and... (full context)
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...his demands that his uncle be ransomed. The guard attempts to prevent Mortimer Junior and Lancaster from seeing the King, but the commotion attracts the attention of both Edward and Kent,... (full context)
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Language and Violence Theme Icon
Edward begins to complain about the behavior of Lancaster and Mortimer Junior, but the nobles cut him off in order to list their own... (full context)
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Language and Violence Theme Icon
Mortimer Junior and Lancaster leave, resolving to sell the Mortimer castle for ransom money and then “purchase more” by... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Kent appears before Lancaster, Mortimer Junior, Warwick, and Pembroke, saying that “love to this [their] native land” has compelled... (full context)
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Lancaster explains that Gaveston and Edward are “frolicking” in Tynemouth, and the nobles resolve to attack... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 4
Fear of the Other and Internal Discord Theme Icon
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Lancaster, Warwick, and Mortimer Junior burst in. They are searching for Edward, and Mortimer interrupts Isabella's... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 5
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
Fear of the Other and Internal Discord Theme Icon
Language and Violence Theme Icon
Lancaster, Warwick, Pembroke, Mortimer Junior, and their forces chase after Gaveston, who is taunting them as... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 3
Sex, Lineage, and the Natural Order Theme Icon
Fear of the Other and Internal Discord Theme Icon
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Mortimer Junior, Kent, Lancaster, Warwick, and Pembroke appear, and the two sides exchange boasts and insults. Lancaster says Edward's... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 4
Fortune and Tragedy Theme Icon
...Spencer Junior, 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... (full context)
Monarchy, Legitimacy, and Loyalty Theme Icon
...his request to see Gaveston once more, and killing him in an ambush. Warwick and Lancaster, however, dismiss Edward's threats, saying they would rather die than “live in infamy under such... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
Fear of the Other and Internal Discord Theme Icon
Language and Violence Theme Icon
Fortune and Tragedy Theme Icon
...saying that “right makes room / Where weapons want”: although he admits that Warwick and Lancaster are dead, he assures her that they still have friends in England. Kent interjects that... (full context)