Discuss the Significance of the Opening Scene in the Play “Edward Ii.”

Topics: Edward II of England, Christopher Marlowe, Favourite Pages: 2 (714 words) Published: January 16, 2013
“Edward II” is a Renaissance or Early Modern period play written by Christopher Marlowe. It is one of the earliest English history plays. The play telescopes most of Edward II's reign into a single narrative, beginning with the recall of his favourite, Piers Gaveston, from exile, and ending with his son, Edward III, executing Mortimer Junior for the king's murder. Marlowe's play opens at the outset of the reign, with Edward's exiled favourite, Piers Gaveston, rejoicing at the recent death of Edward I and his own resulting ability to return to England. The Mortimers, Lancaster and others are unhappy with the fact that Gaveston has been recalled from exile and that he is being shown so much favor and the king is only defended by his brother, the Earl of Kent. Edward II does not care what the lords have said and informs them that he has no intention of sending his beloved Gaveston away. The lords depart in anger, threatening open war if Gaveston is not expelled. The king then proceeds to give Gaveston titles, access to the royal treasury and promises him any protection he needs against his enemies. The Bishop of Coventry, the man who passed the sentence of exile on Gaveston, then enters and is immediately upset to see the exiled man back in England. Coventry promises that there will be retribution for breaking the law and the king responds by stripping the bishop of all his possessions, giving them to Gaveston and imprisoning him. The first scene opens with Gaveston reading a letter from Edward II who is inviting him to return and share the kingdom with him. In a few quick lines Gaveston’s soliloquy makes clear the homosexual nature of their relationship as well as the theme of power that runs throughout the play. Gaveston muses about surrounding himself and the king with all manner of pleasure-seekers and dreams of turning the court into a sybaritic playland filled with “men like satyrs grazing on the lawns.” When the king and his entourage enter, Gaveston steps...
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