Edward II Questions and Answers
Q.1. Why was Gaveston exiled by Edward the first? Why is he recalled now by Edward II?
Ans. Gaveston, the son of a Gascon knight has served Edward I for a long period of time. But at the same time, Gaveston was very intimate with the prince whom he tried to degrade by playing some evil and vicious impact of the contemporary time. As young prince was degraded day by day due to his proximity with Gaveston only, Gaveston was banished from the court of England in 1307.
Now Edward I is dead. Naturally Edward-II is the new king. Though Gaveston tried to play a negative influence upon him, Edward II loved him properly. So after the demise of his father, he calls back Gaveston to come back to England to share and enjoy the kingly pleasures and privileges at the court. In fact, Edward II takes a decision which his father negated in his life time.
Q.2. What is Gaveston’s reaction when he is invited by Edward II?
Ans. Gaveston in a soliloquy expresses his reactions when he is invited by Edward-II to come back to England. He says that on arriving in the city of London, he is experiencing supreme happiness because here his bosom friend lives. He compares his happiness to that of a soul newly arrived in Elysium. He also says that he need not feel afraid of the peers or barons and the new king that is Edward II would be his only centre of attraction.
Q.3. How does Gaveston want to please the king?
Ans. When the three poor men have gone out of sight, Gaveston in a soliloquy plans to appease the tastes of the king in various ways. He now only thinks of keeping his friend, the king somehow happy. As the king loves music and poetry Gaveston would- arrange Italian masques for the king’s entertainment. He would arrange plays showing amorous pleasures and mythological stories appealing to the king’s lascivious qualities. For example, two boys will appear as Diana and Actaeon. Actaeon will peep through when Diana will bathe. Now Diana’s curse will make Actaeon turned to a deer which will be hunted by his hounds and he will pretend to die. When the king will walk out from his plays, Gaveston will represent some servants in the dress of pastoral rymph to gratify the king. Thus Goveston wants to control the king in the name of pleasing him.
Q.4. How does the king welcome Gaveston?
Ans. After his return from France, Gaveston walks forward to meet the king who becomes too much rapturous on meeting his friend from whom he is separated for long time. The king tells that he has been feeling as miserable due to Gaveston’s absence as Hercules felt when he was separated from Iris dear companion Hylas. Expressing great pleasure, the king now bestows several titles upon Gaveston to show his happiness. Even the objection which is made by Kent for this type of kingly behaviour is rejected by Edward II.
Q.5. Give two reasons for the barons’ hatred of Gaveston.
Ans. The English barons basically hate Gaveston for two reasons. Firstly, Gaveston is a low born French minion of the king but in spite of belonging to a lower class section of society he is controlling an English king who forgetting his duties for the countrymen is busy with Gaveston. Secondly, the king spends a lot of money upon Gaveston who shows luxury and debauchery in the common people’s money. The king is so absorbed with Gaveston that the defence of the country is neglected. The soldiers cannot get good dresses and their payment regularly. The condition of the masses is also beggar’s description. Even the barons are greatly suffering in the hands of both the king and his low born minion. For these reasons, the English barons renounce Gaveston thoroughly.
Q.6. Why does Queen Isabella go to France?
Ans. Queen Isabella goes to France mainly with two objectives. Her first aim was to settle some matters with his brother, king of France who was about to declare a war against Edward-II as the latter was not giving the money according to a treaty signed between them. Edward III who was also going to France with his mother was asked by the king to deal with his uncle properly in the affairs of the state. The second reason of visiting France on the part of the Queen was to get some financial, mental and military assistance from his brother so that he can teach a lesson to her husband who is indifferent to her and dotes upon Gaveston.
Q.7. Why does the king pass the order of banishment against Gaveston?
Ans. The barons arrest Gaveston in front of the king. The king questions about the behaviour of the peers who ask the king to govern his kingdom properly. The Archbishop of Canterbury informs the king about the decision of Gaveston’s punishment, taken by the barons. The king replies that he cannot allow Gaveston to be expelled from the country. The Archbishop warns the king that if the latter refuses to comply with the wish of the barons and the deputy of the Pope, he would release them from their oath of allegiance to the king and in that case the barons may rise in revolt against the king. The king feels himself completely helpless. He confers titles on the barons and asks their co-operation in the matter of Gaveston. When this proposal is strongly negated, the king finds no alternative but to sign the order of banishment.
Q.8. Why does the king resolve to destroy the power of Church?
Ans. The Archbishop of Canterbury was the main-force behind the banishment order of Gaveston, signed by the king. But the king was a bosom friend of Gaveston from whom the king cannot live in separation. In a soliloquy, he says that why a king should obey a priest. Then he hates the Pope for encouraging his legates and deputies to spread their authority over the kings. Out of anger, he resolves to start a war against the Pope and to set fire his residence and to murder all the priests. As a king, he also promises to bring an end to all the barons and clergymen in no time.
Q.9. How is the banishment order cancelled?
Ans. The king tells Queen Isabella that if she somehow is able to cancel the decree of Gaveston’s banishment order, he will show his attention to the queen who is always neglected by Edward-II. The queen tells this story to the barons who are in no mood to change the decision. However, the queen privately talks to Mortimer for a while and the situation is changed. Mortimer says to the other barons that in Ireland Gaveston will get much support from the people. But if he is in England, he will be murdered by some hired ruffian. Moreover, if Gaveston is recalled, he will understand the great power of the barons. Again, if Gaveston does not mend himself, the barons will get a chance to rise in revolt against the king. So, he declares that there is some weight in the queen’s request. The other barons support it immediately and the banishment order is cancelled.
Q.10. “The mightiest king have had their minions” Explain.
Ans. Younger Mortimer and other barons went against the king because he wasted much on his low born friend, Gaveston. But elder Mortimer supports that the king is by nature humble and peaceful. He says that the king should be allowed to keep friendship with Gaveston as the most powerful kings in history had their friends. Alexander loved Hephaestion, Hercules deeply felt for Hylas and Achilles. Even the wisestmen had their friends. Tully, a Roman philosopher loved Octavious very much; Socretes was passionate for Alcibiades. Therefore, Elder Mortimer thinks that EdwardII should enjoy Gaveston’s company without any condition.
Q.11. “How Gaveston hath robbed me of his love/But yet I hope my sorrows will have end”-Explain
Ans. These pathetic lines are uttered by Queen Isabella in a mood of private anger against Gaveston. It is true that the king undoubtedly loves Gaveston very much. It is impossible for the king to remain alone without the company of Gaveston. The matter is so serious that even the king neglects his wife and uses many slang words when she comes to him. So, it is sure that Gaveston has robbed Queen Isabella of the king’s love. She wants to end her sorrows in a new style. She wants to go to France with her son and complain to her brother about the indifference of the king towards her. She also thinks that her brother by killing Gaveston will bring an end to her sorrows.
Q.12. Why does Kent join the enemy side?
Ans. Though the king is aware of the enormous power of the barons, he decides not to give in to them. He tells Kent, his brother that he is a lion while the barons are cockerels of whom he is not afraid. Kent suggests that the king is committing a folly by supporting Gaveston because it incurs the wrath of the barons. However, Kent cannot support the king’s policy and asks him to banish Gaveston forever. Hearing this suggestion of his brother, the king is annoyed with Kent, calls him a traitor and asks him to join Mortimer. Kent has no choice before him but to leave the place. The king takes his oath to continue his support for Gaveston. Naturally, this wrong judgment of the king forces Kent who joins the enemy side.
Q.13. “Base Fortune I now I see that in thy wheel” – Explain.
Ans. With the help of Queen Isabella, Mortimer ultimately became successful in murdering Edward-II. Then, Prince Edward was announced as the new king of England. Mortimer thought that Edward-III being too young could do no harm to him as it is impossible for a boy-king to fight against a Machiavellian prototype. But the same flow of blood is in Edward-III’s body. When he came to know of the conspiracy of the younger Mortimer for which his father was secretly killed, he immediately orders Mortimer’s execution. Mortimer, on the other hand, in spite of being a baron became so high that he was the indirect king of England and he was able to seduce the queen Isabella. But now, that Mortimer thinks that he will be killed by the order of a king who is merely a boy. So, lamenting his fate, younger Mortimer utters this statement before his being executed.
Q.14. “The prince I rule, the queen I command”- Explain.
Ans. This glamorous line is uttered by younger Mortimer in a mood of rapture and celebration. Previously, the king was forced to abdicate his crown due to the joint conspiracy of Mortimer and Isabella. Now, the king is devoid of power, authority or governance. Even Mortimer has already planned with Isabella to murder the king to secure their own lives. Now, Mortimer finds a great opportunity to show his mastery over the young prince as well as the queen. Though Edward III is the new king of England, Mortimer thinks that he himself is the focal source of royal power and authority in England. So, in a jubilant mood, Mortimer comments that he is now ruling the prince and he is now commanding the queen. In short, at present, Mortimer is the final word in England.
Q.15. How is Gaveston captured by the Barons?
Ans. Gaveston fled from the Tynmouth castle to take shelter in Scarborough castle. But, he arrived in the countryside near the castle and thought that he was safe. Just then, the barons arrived at the spot with their soldiers and took him into custody. Younger Mortimer termed him as the disturber of country’s peace and would have instantly killed him unless he was unarmed at that time. Even, Warwick ordered that Gaveston should be hanged from a tree. Thus, Gaveston was captured and threatened to death.
Q.16. How was Gaveston murdered?
Ans. According to the request of the king, Arundel and Pembroke while taking Gaveston to the king, decided to spend the night at their own homes with their wives. The soldiers were given the charge of Gaveston for the duration of the night. Warwick who was against the decision of Gaveston’s last meeting with Edward II, suddenly attacked the soldiers headed by James when the Earls had retired to their homes. Then, James was forced to surrender Gaveston to Warwick. Warwick who was extremely angry against Gaveston for the latter’s rude behavior, took him into his custody and immediately put an end to Gaveston’s life against the wish of the king, Edward II.
Q.17. How is Edward-II forced to abdicate?
Ans. The Bishop and Leicester urge the king to give in his crown so that his son may be the next king of England. The king is reluctant to part with his crown as he knows that younger Mortimer getting Isabella’s support is aiming at the throne. Being pressed, the king takes off the crown but wishes to lay down his life with the crown. Then he asks them to keep the crown with him till nightfall to enjoy the last glittering symbol of kingship. Then he requests the planets, sun to stop revolving so that the night never comes. He again wears the crown and utters some words filled with grief. Leicester warns the king that if the king refuses to abdicate and give in the crown, Edward III would lose kingship forever. In such a pathetic condition, the king is forced to abdicate.
Q.18. Describe the king’s misery in the dungeon.
Ans. Edward-II is now held as a prisoner in a dark dungeon of the castle, by the side of a channel that carries all the dirt and rubbish of the castle to a foul smelling pond. The king is not allowed adequate food and even drinking water. When he asks for some water, Metrivis and Gurney offer him that filthy water. Even, the king is shaved with that water. The helpless king compares himself to a wren fighting against a lion. The king is devoid of any sleep for 10 days as one continually plays upon a drum. The king is standing in that channel of filthy water with knee depth. He is in urgent need of sleep but he is not allowed that. The king asks the heavenly powers to watch his condition and to punish his wrong doers. At the same time, the king feels no regret for this ruthless torture for the sake of those who have sacrificed their lives for him. thought much for England. But, now framing an illicit affair with Isabella, he has butchered the king of the country. At any moment, the situation may go against him. So, he wants to control the country by showing fear. He expects that people should be afraid of him than loving him. It will help him to enjoy the supreme power in England more and more. As he has done two heinous deeds, he wants to stupefy the people somehow. When power and Queen are the last terms, he wants to cultivate fear in the minds of all around him than to be loved by them.