Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews October 7, 2022
September 30, 2022
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at email@example.com. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
Richard II is a play by William Shakespeare that was first performed in 1597. Read Richard II here, with side-by-side No Fear translations into modern English.
King Richard II hears a dispute between Bolingbroke and Mowbray. Bolingbroke and Mowbray challenge each other to a duel on King Richard's orders.
The Duchess of Gloucester reveals that her husband was murdered on King Richard's orders. Gaunt believes he should not cross King Richard.
King Richard decides to stop the duel just before it begins, and instead banishes Mowbray from England for life, and Bolingbroke for six years, much to Gaunt’s dismay.
King Richard learns that Gaunt is on his deathbed. Richard plans to supervise the growing war in Ireland and pay for it by taking money from wealthy people.
When Gaunt dies, Richard announces he will seize all his possessions to go to Ireland and leaves York in charge. The Earl of Northumberland informs Lord Ross and Lord Willoughby that Bolingbroke plans to invade England as soon as Richard leaves for Ireland.
Bolingbroke lands in England after Richard departs. York takes Queen Isabel to Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire to try and raise an army; Richard’s advisors flee Windsor.
Bolingbroke meets York at the castle, who is angry with him for the invasion but realizes his army is too small and declares neutrality while Richard is away, and invites the men to stay the night.
Lord Salisbury supervises a Welsh army on the coast of Wales, waiting for Richard to return and fight Bolingbroke. However, the Welsh captain determines bad omens in the landscape and becomes convinced Richard is dead, so the army disperses.
Bolingbroke sentences Bushy and Green to death, saying that they disrupted King Richard’s marriage and turned him against Bolingbroke.
Richard arrives in Wales to discover that Salisbury’s army has fled, York has deflected to Bolingbroke, and his loyal men have been executed. Richard tries to rally, but then resigns himself to waste away at Flint Castle.
Bolingbroke, York, and Northumberland go to Flint Castle to tell Richard that Bolingbroke only wants his inheritance returned, but if not he will start a war. Richard at first threatens divine intervention, but gives in and agrees to go with Bolingbroke to London.
Queen Isabel overhears a gardener say that Bolingbroke has captured Richard, and he will soon be removed from power. Isabel decides to go to London to see him.
Richard gives Bolingbroke the crown but refuses to confess his crimes against the country, and Bolingbroke sends him to a tower for political prisoners.
Isabel sees Richard on the way to the tower, and Richard tells her to go back home to France and join a convent. Northumberland announces that Bolingbroke has changed his mind and will now send Richard to Pomfret Castle, and Richard warns him that he and Bolingbroke will soon start fighting.
The Duke and Duchess of York find out that their son, Aumerle, is part of a plot at Oxford to assassinate Bolingbroke, and all three race to tell Bolingbroke. York wants his son executed, the Duchess wants him pardoned, and Aumerle begs for forgiveness.
Bolingbroke pardons Aumerle but executes all other participants. He also ponders about his own son, who spends his time in taverns and brothels and has been gone for three months.
Exton hears Bolingbroke ask aloud whether he has any friends to rid him of his “fear.” Exton interprets this to mean that Bolingbroke wants him to kill Richard, and leaves for Pomfret.
While Richard tries to come to terms with his new life, Exton enters and kills him.
Exton presents Richard’s body to Bolingbroke, who is glad Richard is dead but denies commanding it and tells Exton to wallow in his grief; Bolingbroke sets off to Jerusalem to cleanse the sin of murder.