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Summary Act 4


At parliament, Bagot indicts Aumerle as the man responsible for the Duke of Gloucester’s death, resulting in a rash of challenges and recrimminations. Calling Bagot a liar and someone unworthy of a nobleman’s challenge, Aumerle, nonetheless, issues Bagot a formal challenge. When a nobleman comes to Bagot’s defense, the Duke of Surrey advocates Aumerle’s cause which in turn compels Lord Fitzwater to side with Bagot, claiming that the banished Duke of Norfolk would attest to Bagot’s indictment. Bullingbrook’s determination to repeal Norfolk’s exile so that he may return and testify is negated, however, when the Bishop of Carlisle informs the assembly of Norfolk’s death.

York joins the proceedings, at this point, to inform Bullingbrook that King Richard has consented to abdicate and to accept Bullinbrook’s coronation. This intelligence so upsets Carlisle that he knowingly condemns himself, proclaiming Richard to be the rightful King of England and the current proceedings to be an abomination. The Abbot of Westminster is ordered to keep Aumerle and Carlisle in custody until their days of trial.

Anon, King Richard is brought to the proceedings. He is to publicly read the list of his crimes and improprieties committed against the state, in addition to announcing his abdication and his endorsement of Bullingbrook as England’s new king. Richard doesn’t hesitate at all to fulfill the latter two of his obligations but he balks when urged to self-incriminate himself. He is urged to read the list of his crimes repeatedly, angering him which prompts Bullingbrook to forego this aspect of the proceedings. He asks Richard what it is that he desires. To be removed to a place where he--Richard--will not have to look upon Bullingbrook, Richard says. Bullingbrook grants Richard his wish. He is sent to the Tower.

Carlisle and Aumerle are devastated at what they have just witnessed. There is a measure of relief, however, when the Abbot of Westminster confides in them of a plan which is already in motion, a plan to subvert Bullingbrook and his followers.

William Shakespeare