As he does for the character of John of Gaunt, Shakespeare bestows on Bolingbroke a mastery of style ranging from eloquent to plain speech. Something curious happens, however, in Bolingbroke's speeches, and neither his plainness nor his eloquence has the resonance that characterizes Gaunt. Even in those situations where Bolingbroke's speech and action might appear in a most favourable light, he is presented in language that cannot but reduce his stature.