Richard II

Richard II Act 5, Scene 2 Summary & Analysis

Read our modern English translation of this scene.
Summary
Analysis
This scene begins with a conversation between York and his wife the Duchess of York. The Duke has been telling his wife the story of Henry’s rise to power, and says that the common people cheered for the new king. Richard, on the other hand, received no such welcome, not even a singular “God save him.”
Again, the common people’s support of Henry and dislike of Richard is emphasized in this quiet family moment where York recapitulates Henry’s rise to power.
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Soon 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 finally grabs it and reads, he cries out ‘treason!’—apparently having discovered Aumerle’s involvement in the plot to assassinate Henry. York immediately takes off to inform Henry of the plot, which he says he would do even if Aumerle were twenty times his son. In an attempt to save her son’s life, the Duchess of York sends Aumerle after York with instructions to try to get to Henry first in order to beg for forgiveness.
Aumerle interrupts the conversation, and York is now placed in Gaunt’s position from earlier in the play: he must choose between family obligation and obligation to the crown. Immediately, York chooses to inform on his son, saying that his obligation to the king is even more than twenty times stronger than his obligation to his traitorous son.
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