King Richard II secretly ordered the death of Woodstock beginning a web of confusion and mistrust. Because kings are considered divinely chosen, both Bolingbroke and Mowbray are forced to keep the secret. They accuse each other of the crime even though both knows the truth. They are both angered at the others accusations and decide to toke to matter to the king directly. Richard, knowing the truth, tries to encourage the men to resolve the matter peacefully. Unwilling to resolve things peacefully, both men insist upon a fight for honor; honor that is owed to both at the expense of the king.
At the fight, the king once again tries to untangle his web by throwing down his warder (staff) to halt the fight and end the disagreement without the unnecessary death of either man. Richard decides to banish both men but adds a swear to “Nor never by advised purpose meet/ To plot, contrive, or complot any ill/ ‘Gainst us, our state, our subjects, or our land.”(1.3.182-184) This is a foreshadow of coming web entanglements.
In 1.1.115, the king proclaims his ability to be impartial. Then after banishing Mowbray permanently, Mowbray leaves and Gaunt pleas with Richard for his son’s punishment to be reduced. The web weaver tangles his web some more by shortening the banishment to only six years.
In this brief portion of the play, the web of lies and deception are woven large already; with several acts to go, will the web get larger? Will it break? Or will it be untangled?