Edward Ii - to What Extent Is Edward Responsible for His Own Fate?

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Edward Ii - to What Extent Is Edward Responsible for His Own Fate?

By | October 1999
Page 1 of 6
‘Edward II plantagenet King of England,
Whose incompetence and distaste for government finally led to His deposition and murder.'

The Elizabethan drama, Christopher Marlowe's, Edward the Second is, according to Aristotle's definition of the word, a tragedy. That is to say it concerns the fall of a great man because of a mistake he has made or a flaw in his character. During this essay I will demonstrate how this definition of tragedy applies to Edward II.

Edward II was king of England, and reigned from 1307 to 1327, as a prince he had developed a close, possibly homosexual, relationship with a base commoner of very low social standing named Piers de Gaveston. The young prince's father Edward I, also known as Edward the Longshanks due to the length of his legs, disapproved of the developing relationship and had Gaveston banished from the kingdom. Partly due to this and also due to differences in personality between the two men, the relationship between father and son was relatively hostile. The young prince had little respect for his father or his father's wishes, illustrated by his act of immediately repealing of Gaveston's banishment upon his father's death,

‘My father is deceased; come, Gaveston,
And share the kingdom with thy dearest friend.'

His father spent his life expanding and defending his young son's future kingdom and in trying to educate his son in the art of war. The young prince however was totally uninterested in the art of war or in expanding or defending his kingdom, as is proved by the comments made to him when he is king,

‘Look for rebellion, look to be deposed:
Thy garrisons are beaten out of France,
And, lame and poor, lie groaning at the gates;
The wild O'Neill with swarms of Irish kerns,
Live uncontrolled within the English pale;
Unto the walls of York the Scots made road
And un-resisted, drave away rich spoils.'
‘The haughty Dane commands...