Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mowbray Essay

Mowbray's Speech: Act 1 Scene 3
Lines 154-173

As Mowbray and Bullingbrook are about to fight after repeated acquisitions towards one another, an unexpected interupption occurs. After the trumpet sounds for them to begin the battle, King Richard II stops the fight before they even lay a sword on each other. He makes the decision to banish each of them from England. Bullingbrook is only banished for ten years or “till twice five summers” (1.3.141) while Mowbray is banished for life. Bullingbrook accepts his punishment with dignity and defiance. Mowbray's words are also dignified but are spoken in undeniable pain. He feels that Bullingbrook should also be harshly rewarded. This is apparent in his words, “a heavy sentence, my most sovereign liege, all unlooked-for from your highness' mouth.” It almost seems as if Mowbray subtly questions King Richard judgment.

Mowbray uses words and phrases such as “heavy,” “dull,”and “death,” to describe what this banishment feel like to him. He makes it apparent that the King's banishment “robs” him and “enjails” him. Mowbray is effective in his appeals to his audience to make them feel sympathy for him. Mowbray has two audiences, King Richard, and the people who came to watch the fight. He implies that he would like mercy from his King, and this speech, in a sense, is begging the King for a sentence like Bullingbrook's.
Mowbray describes the greatest pain of his banishment is he will no longer be able to speak in native tongue. He talks movingly of how his tongue will be like an “unstringed viol or a harp” or a “cunning instrument cased up.” Mowbray implies that in his banishment, important aspects of his life will ultimately die. He is not free, nor is his tongue free. He refers to his tongue as “within my mouth you have enjailed my tongue.” Without his native tongue his life becomes useless, and even like “death.” His hope becomes dim as he mentions that he is “too old” and “too far in years” to attain anything else in his lifetime.

Mowbray's attempt of gaining sympathy is effective. He portrays what his life will become in banishment. He feels the weight of his sentence with pain and outwardly demonstrates the certain “death” he experiences. However, his speech unexpectedly not effective enough. The next lines from King Richard show little empathy.

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