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Ricardo II: Episode 4

By Cymbeline Anthropocene on Jan 07, 2021 at 07:00 PM in Fringe Projects

After a brief holiday hiatus, the Cymbeline in the Anthropocene blog is back with another episode recap of Merced Shakespearefest's Ricardo II: A Bilingual Adaptation of Shakespeare's Richard II.

In episode 4, "Arrendador de Inglaterra / Landlord of England," the king and his entourage travel to visit John of Gaunt, who grieves his banished son from a sick bed. When the king arrives only to mock John's illness, what follows is a witty but ominous repartee in which John diagnoses Ricardo with "the flatterer's sickness," and either threatens or predicts the king's death before his own. Ricardo is angered by John's criticisms, and quits the scene imploring John to die faster: "let them die that age and sullens have; for both hast thou, and both become the grave.”

The king's rage quickly turns to mirth, as he impulsively decides to seize John of Gaunt's property and assets, immediately alarming many of his courtiers. The Queen and the Duke of York implore Ricardo against wrongfully seizing the assets of a man who still lives--let alone the inheritance of his exiled son--but this proves to no avail, and York leaves the scene in disgust. 

Surrounded by a court that has begun to seriously doubt his leadership, Ricardo ends this episode by announcing he will travel to Ireland, and making the bizarre decision to leave stewardship of the kingdom to the same Duke of York who just quit his service. These mounting tensions leave episode 4 with a cliffhanger ending.

For more episode discussions, return to our blog every alternating week, and remember to share Merced Shakespearefest's series with your colleagues and friends!