Richard II


William Shakespeare

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Richard II Characters

Read our modern English translation.

King Richard II

Richard II is the king of England at the start of the play. He inherited his crown from Edward III, his grandfather, and he is John of Gaunt’s nephew and Henry Bolingbroke’s… read analysis of King Richard II

Henry Bolingbroke / King Henry IV

While Richard II is the story of Richard’s downfall, it is also the story of Henry Bolingbroke’s rise to the throne as Henry IV. Henry is Richard’s cousin, and the son of John ofread analysis of Henry Bolingbroke / King Henry IV

John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster

John of Gaunt is Richard’s uncle and Henry’s father. Like Richard II, he firmly believes in the divine right of kings, and he at first refuses to confront Richard for Gloucester’s murder… read analysis of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster

Edmund of Langley, Duke of York

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… read analysis of Edmund of Langley, Duke of York
Minor Characters
Duke of Aumerle
Aumerle is the son of the Duke of York. Towards the end of the play, he joins an attempt to kill Henry, but the plot is discovered and Aumerle begs for and is ultimately granted forgiveness.
Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk
Thomas Mowbray stands accused of treason by Henry at the beginning of the play. He dies while banished from England by Richard.
Duke of Surrey
An English nobleman.
Earl of Salisbury
An English nobleman loyal to Richard and ultimately executed by Henry and his men.
Lord Berkeley
An English nobleman.
John Bushy
A friend of Richard II who is ultimately executed by Henry and his men.
John Bagot
A friend of Richard who goes to Ireland to warn the king of Henry’s return to England.
Henry Green
A friend of Richard who is ultimately executed by Henry and his men.
Earl of Northumberland
An English nobleman who quickly sides with Henry, having been dissatisfied with Richard’s reign prior to Henry’s return to England.
Henry Percy / Hotspur
The son of the Earl of Northumberland. Percy joins the rebellion, and he will ultimately be the nemesis of Henry IV’s son in later plays.
Lord Ross
An English nobleman who joins forces with Henry.
Lord Willoughby
An English nobleman who sides with Henry.
Lord Fitzwater
An English nobleman.
Bishop of Carlisle
A Bishop who is loyal to Richard and unafraid to speak his mind to Henry. Carlisle is ultimately pardoned for showing “sparks of honor.”
Abbot of Westminster
An abbot who believes Henry’s claim to the throne is illegitimate and plots an attempt to kill the new king.
Lord Marshal
An officer in the English court.
First Herald
A herald.
Second Herald
Another herald.
Sir Stephen Scroop
A supporter of Richard.
Sir Pierce of Exton
A supporter of Henry who believes he has been instructed to kill Richard, and does so.
Captain of a Band of Welshmen
A Welsh captain.
Queen to King Richard
Richard’s Queen is ultimately exiled after his death.
Queen’s Ladies-in-Waiting
Servants and friends of Richard’s Queen.
Duchess of York
The wife of the Duke of York and Aumerle’s mother; she begs Henry to forgive her son after the assassination plot is revealed.
Duchess of Gloucester
The widow of the Duke of Gloucester, the Duchess of Gloucester tries to convince John of Gaunt to stand up to Richard at the beginning of the play.
Duke of Gloucester
He does not appear in the play. The Duke of Gloucester is another son of Edward III; Richard was involved with his murder.
Edward III
He does not appear in the play. Edward III is Richard’s grandfather and the previous king of England.