Richard II: Novel Summary: Act 5 Scene 2

Act 5 Scene 2
At the Duke of Yorks house, York tells his wife of the scene he witnessed in London. As Richard was led through the streets, people tossed rubbish at him from windows. But Bolingbroke was hailed with enthusiasm by everyone.
Their son Aumerle enters. The duke notices he is carrying a document with a seal on it. Aumerle pretends it is nothing important, but the duke wrests it from him. As soon as he has read the contents he denounces his own son as a traitor. He immediately calls for his horse to be saddled, and announces that he is going straight to the king. His wife rebukes him, saying that he should protect his own; Aumerle is their only son. York replies angrily that the letter tells of a conspiracy by twelve men to kill the king at Oxford. The duchess suggests that Aumerle stay at home, then he can have no part in it. When the duke still refuses to listen, the duchess thinks he must doubt that Aumerle is really his own son. She swears that he is, but when she cannot stop her husband going to the king, she orders Aumerle to ride to the king as well. She urges him to get there before his father does, so he can confess and plead for a pardon before his crime is disclosed.
Yorks account of what he saw in London supplies information for the audience about a scene that is not shown directly. The other purpose of the scene is to reveal that the new kings reign is marked immediately by plots to overthrow him. As the two Henry IV plays will show, Henrys entire reign was dogged by civil wars.
This scene also sets up the situation with the York family that will show the magnanimity of the new king.