Blogs

Abridged Henry VI Part 3/#1/Confrontation/Act 1, Scene 1

The Duke of York, having killed Old Clifford at the
battle at St. Albans, the only battle fought in the War of the Roses, Old
Clifford having been a close friend of Henry VI’s, had rushed back to London,
hoping to intercept the king and his entourage as they headed for London, the
king having recognized that all was lost for them at St. Albans.  Warwick and two of York’s sons, Edward and
Richard, joined York at the Parliament House in London. Warwick opens the play
saying “I wonder how the king escaped our hands?”  None has an answer, York saying “He slyly
stole away and left his men.”  Richard,
York’s youngest son, had brought Somerset’s head with him, having killed his
father’s Nemesis at St Albans, Somerset having been the leader of the red rose
contingent in the War of the Roses.
Holding up Somerset’s head, Richard says “I hope to shake King Henry’s
head.”  Attempting to bring more civility
to the conversation, Warwick says “When the king comes, offer him no
violence.”  He goes on to say “The Bloody
Parliament shall this be called, unless the Duke of York be king, and bashful
Henry deposed.”  The Duke of York sits in
the king’s throne.  Henry VI enters and
says “My lords, look where the sturdy rebel sits, backed by the power of
Warwick, that false peer.”  The King goes
on to say “Thou rebellious Duke of York, descend my throne and kneel for grace
at my feet.  I am thy sovereign.”  York says simply “I am thine.”  King Henry says “Shall I stand and thou sit
in my throne?”  York replies “It must and
shall be so; content thyself?”  Henry VI
responds “What title hast thou, traitor, to the crown?  I am the son of Henry the Fifth.”  York’s son, Richard, cries “Father, tear the
crown from the usurper’s head.”  Edward
supports his brother.  York cries “Sons,
peace!”  York and the king replay the
moment Richard II lost his crown to Henry IV, Henry VI saying aside to himself,
“my title’s weak.”  York shouts “Henry of
Lancaster, resign thy crown.”  Warwick
weighs in, saying “Do right unto this princely Duke of York, or I will fill the
house with armed men and over the chair of state, where now he sits, write up
his title with usurping blood.”   Warwick
stamps his feet.  Soldiers appear.  King Henry says “Warwick, let me for this my
lifetime reign as king.  Richard Plantagenet,
enjoy the kingdom after my decease.”
Clifford says “What wrong is this unto the prince your son?”  The king’s lords walk out on him.  The king says to Warwick “I sigh for my son,
whom I unnaturally shall disinherit.  Bet
be it as it may.”  To York he says “I
here bequeath the crown to thee and to thine heirs forever.”  York steps down from the throne.  Henry and York embrace.  The queen and their son Prince Edward
enter.  Exeter says “Here comes the
queen, whose looks expose her anger.
I’ll steal away.”  She says “Ah,
wretched man, would I had died a maid and never seen thee, never borne thee
son.  Hath he deserved to lose his
birthright thus?”  Prince Edward says
“Father, you cannot disinherit me.  If
you be king, why should not I succeed?”
Henry VI says “Pardon me, Margaret; pardon me, sweet son; Warwick and
the duke enforced me.”  Queen Margaret
says “Enforced thee?  Art thou king; wilt
thou be forced?”  She goes on to say “I
here divorce myself both from thy table, Henry, and thy bed, until that act of
Parliament be repealed whereby my son is disinherited.  Thus do I leave thee.”  She says to Prince Edward “Come, son, let’s
away.”  They exit. King Henry says “Poor
queen, her love to me and to her son hath made her break out into terms of
rage.”  Speaking of the lords who walked
out on him, the king says “The loss of those three lords torments my
heart.  I’ll write unto them and treat
them fair.”  Exeter cynically says “I
hope it shall reconcile them all.”

Abridged Henry VI Part 3/#2/Revenge/Act 1, Scenes 2-3

York’s sons are on stage. York enters and asks them “What is
your quarrel?”  Edward replies “But a
slight contention.”  More boldly, Richard
says “The crown of England, father, which is yours.”  York responds “Not till King Henry be
dead.  I took an oath that he should
quietly reign.”  Richard then offers his
theory that since Henry IV usurped Richard II’s crown “without a lawful
magistrate that hath authority” swearing that he was successor king; York,
should, therefore, more lawfully be king.
Richard asks ‘Why do we linger thus?”
York cries “Richard! Enough! I will be king or die.”  Montague (Warwick’s brother, both York
supporters) hands out instructions to all three.  A Messenger enters and announces that “The
queen intends to besiege you in your castle with twenty thousand men.”  York now hands out a new set of
instructions.  York’s uncles, John and
Hugh Mortimer, enter.  York says “The
queen means to besiege us.  Sir John says
“we’ll meet her in the field.”  York says
‘With five thousand men?”  The other men
are more confident.  York succumbs,
saying “Five men to twenty – though the odds be great, I doubt not, uncles, of
our victory.”  They exit.  Separately, on the battlefield, seventeen
year old Rutland, another of York’s sons, encounters young (now Lord) Clifford,
who says “This accursed duke, whose father slew my father, shall die.”  Clifford, who had vowed revenge on the
battlefield at St. Albans, stabs Rutland, who falls.  An injured Rutland says “Ah, gentle Clifford,
kill me with thy sword and not with such a cruel threat’ning look.”  Clifford says “In vain thou speak’st, poor
boy.”  Rutland says “Let me pray.”  He kneels.
He then says “To thee I pray: sweet Clifford, pity me.  I never did thee harm; why wilt thou slay
me?”  Clifford responds “Thy father slew
my father, therefore die.”  He stabs
him.  Rutland dies.  Clifford shouts “Plantagenet, I come,
Plantagenet!”  The Duke of York is
Richard Plantagenet, often referred to as Plantagenet.

Abridged Henry VI Part 3/#3/Death/Act 1, Scene 4

The scene opens on the battlefield.  York gives us the lay of the land, so to
speak.  He tells us that the queen “hath
won the field;” that John and Hugh Mortimer, his uncles, have been slain; that his
followers have fled; and that he knows not what has happened to his sons.  He notes that his son, Richard, had said
“Charge and give no foot of ground.  A
crown or else a glorious tomb.”  Queen
Margaret, Lord Clifford, her son Prince Edward, Northumberland and others
enter.  Northumberland says “Yield to our
mercy, proud Plantagenet.”  Clifford and
York trade insults.  Clifford says “I
will not bandy with thee word for word.”
He draws his sword.  The queen and
Northumberland try to calm Clifford, but a not to be denied Clifford and York
fight, Clifford taking him.  The queen
says “Come make him (York) stand upon this molehill here.”  The queen asks York “was it you that would be
England’s king?”  She tells him that her
“napkin is stained with Rutland’s blood.
If thine eyes can water for his death, I give thee this to dry thy
cheeks withal.  I prithee, grieve, to
make me merry, York.”  She puts a paper
crown on his head.  She says “You should
not be king till our King Henry had shook hands with death.  Off with the crown.”  She knocks the paper crown from his
head.  York lashes out at her, saying
“She-wolf of France.  O tiger’s heart
wrapped in a woman’s hide.  How couldst
thou drain the lifeblood of the child to bid the father wipe his eyes withal,
yet seem to bear a woman’s face?  There,
take the crown, and with the crown, my curse.
Hardhearted Clifford, take me from the world.  My soul to heaven, my blood upon your
heads.”  Northumberland, upset with their
treatment of York, says “I could weep with him, seeing how heartfelt sorrow
grieves his soul.”  The Queen responds
“Lord Northumberland?  Think but upon the
wrong he did us all.”  Clifford says
“Here’s for my father’s death.”  He stabs
York.  York says “Open the gate of mercy,
gracious God.  My soul flies through
these wounds to seek out thee.”  He then dies.

Abridged Henry VI Part 3/#4/Determination/Act 2, Scene 1

Edward and Richard, two of the three remaining sons of
Richard Plantagenet, York, are on stage; both worried about the fate of their
father.  Edward notes that they should
have heard “had he been ta’en, slain or ‘scaped.”  Richard says “I cannot joy until I be
resolved where our right valiant father is become.”  A Messenger enters and tells them “the noble
duke of York was slain.”  Richard says
‘Say how he died, for I will heart it all.”
The Messenger tells them it was much as described in paragraph 3.  Edward responds gently, saying “now thou art
gone, we have no staff, no support.
Never henceforth shall I joy again.”
Richard is more vindictive, saying “I cannot weep, tears for babes,
blows and revenge for me!  Richard, I
bear thy name; I’ll venge thy death or die renowned by attempting it.”  Edward says ‘His name that valiant duke hath
left with thee; his dukedom and his chair with me is left.”  Edward was the first born.  Warwick and the Marquis of Montague
enter.  Warwick says “How does it?”  Richard tells him “Great Lord of Warwick, the
Duke of York is slain.”  Edward adds “O
Warwick, that Plantagenet is by the stern Lord Clifford done to death.”  Warwick confides in the young men, saying “Ten
days ago I drowned these news in tears.” Warwick then proceeds to tell the two
of them that “after the bloody fray at Wakefield fought, where your brave father
breathed his last gasp, we marched toward Saint Albans to intercept the queen,
but to conclude with truth, their weapons like to lightning came and went; our
soldiers fell gently down, as if they struck with friends.  I cheered, but all in vain.  We fled, your brother George, Norfolk and
myself to join with you.”  Richard asks
“What’s to be done?”  Warwick says “Their
power, I think, is thirty thousand strong.
If Norfolk and myself, with all the friends among the loving Welshmen
thou canst procure, we’ll amount to five and twenty thousand, and to London
will we march. But never once again look back and fly.”  Richard says “Now methinks I hear great
Warwick speak.”  Edward steps in, saying
“Lord Warwick, on thy shoulder will I lean, and when thou fail’st must Edward
fall, which peril heaven forbid!”  Taken
back by Edward’s dependence, Warwick, says to Edward “No longer Earl of March,
but Duke of York; the next degree is England’s royal throne, for King of
England shalt thou be proclaimed in every borough as we pass along.  King Edward, valiant Richard, Montague, we
are no longer dreaming of renown.  Sound
the trumpets.”  Ever determined Richard
says “Then, Clifford, I come to pierce thy heart or to give thee mine.”  Edward is now Duke of York, so proclaimed by
Warwick.  The bold and confident Warwick
becomes known as ‘The Kingmaker.’  A
Messenger enters and says “The queen is coming with a powerful host.”  Warwick shouts “Brave warriors, let’s
away.”

Abridged Henry VI Part 3/#5/Defiance/Act 2, Scene 2

The scene opens before the walls of the city of
York.  Queen Margaret has placed Richard
Plantagenet’s head on a pole on top of the wall.  The queen asks her husband “Doth not the
object cheer your heart, my lord?”  King
Henry replies “It irks my very soul.”
Clifford lays into the king, saying “Ambitious York did level at thy
crown, thou smiling while he knit his angry brows.  He, but a duke, would have his son a king.
Were it not pity that this goodly boy should long hereafter say unto his child
‘What my great-grandfather and grandsire got my careless father fondly gave
away?’”  Queen Margaret steps in, saying
“You promised knighthood to our son.
Unsheathe your sword and dub him presently.”  The king says “Edward Plantagenet, arise a
knight.”  A Messenger enters and says
“Royal commanders, be in readiness.  With
a band of thirty thousand men comes Warwick backing of the Duke of York; and in
the towns proclaims him king, and many fly to him.”  Clifford turns to the king and says “I would
your highness would depart the field.
The queen hath best success when you are absent.”  Edward Duke of York, Warwick, Richard, Norfolk
and others enter.  Edward asks the king
to crown him king.  The queen and
Clifford have a nasty give-and-take banter with Richard.  Warwick steps in, asking “Henry, wilt thou
yield the crown?”  Warwick now enters the
bitter back and forth bickering.  The
king is not permitted to be part of the conversation.  The queen doesn’t give an inch. Warwick steps
in, saying if you deny Edward your crown, there “will be blood upon thy
head.”   Edward Duke of York, threatening
the queen, says “Sound trumpets, let our bloody colors wave.  And either victory, or else a grave.”  Queen Margaret says “Stay, Edward.”  Edward Duke of York says “No, wrangling
woman, we’ll no longer stay.  These words
will cost ten thousand lives this day.”
The two sets of adversaries angrily exit different sides of the
stage.

Abridged Henry VI Part 3/#6/Sadness/Act 2, Scenes 3-5

As the scene opens, Warwick is resting in the fields near
York. Edward Duke of York, Richard and George all enter, running, seeking
Warwick’s help, Lord Clifford leading a charge against them.  Ever dependable Warwick cries “Why stand we
like softhearted women here, wailing our losses, whiles the foe doth rage?  I’ll never pause again till either death hath
closed these eyes of mine or fortune given me measure of revenge.”  The Plantagenet brothers gather around
Warwick, anxiously looking to him as their leader.  Lord Clifford soon enters, challenging
Richard, the two of them alone on stage.
A confident Clifford taunts Richard.
Richard reminds Clifford that he’s the one who killed his father (York)
and brother (Rutland).  They fight.  Warwick enters, rescuing Richard.  Clifford flies.  A defiant Richard brushes off his close
encounter with death, saying to Warwick “Nay, Warwick, single out some other
chase, for I myself will hunt this wolf to death.”  He and Warwick exit.  A dejected King Henry enters.  He reflects on the time and his place in
it.  He says to himself “Margaret and
Clifford have chided me from the battle, swearing both prosper best when I am
thence.  Methinks it were a happy life to
be no better than a simple countryman.
The shepherd’s homely curds, his cold thin drink out of his leather bottle,
his accustomed sleep under a tree’s shade, all which secure and sweetly he
enjoys, is far beyond a prince’s dainty foods.”
A Lancastrian Soldier with a dead Yorkist Soldier in his arms
enters.  Henry stands aside.  The Yorkist Soldier was the Lancastrian
Soldier’s father.  Henry says “O piteous
spectacle! O bloody times!”  Another
Soldier enters with a dead man in his arms.
The soldier says to himself “Give me thy gold, if thou hast any
gold.”  He removes the dead man’s helmet.  He exclaims “Ah, no, it is mine only
son!  O, pity, God, this miserable
age.  How unnatural this deadly quarrel
daily doth beget!”  King Henry says “Woe
above woe!  Grief more than common
grief!”  The Lancastrian Soldier says
“How will my mother for a father’s death take on with me.”  The Second Soldier says “How will my wife for
slaughter of my son shed seas of tears, and ne’er be satisfied!”  King Henry says “How will the country for
these woeful happenings misunderstand the king.”  The two soldiers exit; one carrying his father’s
body; the other his son’s.  Prince Edward
enters, crying “Fly, father, fly.”  Queen
Margaret enters, crying “Head towards Berwick post amain. Edward and Richard,
with fiery eyes sparkling for very wrath, are at our backs.”  Exeter enters, crying “Away, make
speed.”  King Henry says “Nay, take me
with thee, good sweet Exeter.”  They
exit.

Abridged Henry VI Part 3/#7/Redetermination/Act 2, Scene 6

Clifford, wounded with an arrow in his neck, enters,
saying “Here burns my candle out; ay, here it dies, which, whiles it lasted,
gave King Henry light. O Lancaster, I fear thy overthrow more than my body’s
parting with my soul.  Now I fall,
impairing Henry, strength’ning misproud York.”
He goes on to say “The foe is merciless and will not pity, for at their
hands I have deserved no pity.  Come
York, Richard, Warwick and the rest; split my breast.”  He faints.
The Plantagenet brothers, Warwick and others enter.  Edward Duke of York says “Now breathe we,
lords; good fortune bids us pause.  Think
you lords that Clifford fled with them?”
Warwick says “No, ‘tis impossible he should escape.”  Clifford groans.  Richard says “’Tis Clifford.”  Clifford is dragged forward. Warwick says
“Speak, Clifford, dost thou know who speaks to thee?”  They all make comments directed at
Clifford.  Warwick finally says, “Ay, but
he’s dead.  Now to London with triumphant
march, there to be crowned England’s royal king; from whence shall Warwick cut
the sea to France, and ask the Lady Bonne for thy queen.”  Edward thanks Warwick and says to Richard “I
will create thee Duke of Gloucester, and George, of Clarence.”  They exit.

Abridged Henry VI Part 3/#8/Captured/Act 3, Scene 1

The scene opens in a forest in northern England.  Two gamekeepers are on stage, the first
saying “Here comes a man; let’s stay till he be past.”  King Henry enters, talking to himself, having
entered England from Scotland, saying “No, Harry, ‘tis no land of thine.  Thy place is filled, thy scepter wrung from
thee.”  The First Gamekeeper says “This
is the former king; let’s seize upon him.”
The Second Gamekeeper says “Forbear awhile; we’ll hear a little
more.”  King Henry goes on to tell us
that “My queen and son are gone to France for aid, and, as I hear, Warwick is
thither gone to crave the French king’s sister-in-law to wife for Edward.”  The Second comes forward to say “What art
thou that talk’st of kings and queens?”
The king wryly says “More than I seem, and less than I was born
to.”  Following a brief discussion, the
Second says “You are the king King Edward hath deposed, and we his subjects
sworn in all allegiance will apprehend you as his enemy.”  King Henry offers a weak defense saying “Why,
am I dead?  Do I not breathe a man?”  The First says “We are true subjects to the
king, King Edward.  We charge you to go
with us unto the officers.   King Henry
says “Lead, your king’s name be obeyed; and what God will, that let your king
perform; and what he will I humbly yield unto.”
They exit.

Abridged Henry VI Part 3/#9/Disclosure/Act 3, Scene 2

The scene opens at the king’s palace in London.  We learn that a Sir Richard Grey was slain at
St Albans, that his lands were seized by the conqueror, and that his widow is
suing to repossess those lands. King Edward says to Lady Grey, “we will
consider your suit.  I’ll tell you how
these lands are to be got.”  She says ‘Shall
I not hear my task?”  He says “’tis but
to love a king.”  She says “That’s soon
performed, because I am a subject.”  The
two of them banter about the meaning of love.
He finally says “To tell you plain, I aim to lie with thee.”  She says “I had rather lie in prison.”  He says “Say that King Edward takes thee for
his queen.”  She says “’Tis better said
than done, my gracious lord.”  A Nobleman
enters, saying “My gracious lord, Henry your foe is taken and brought as
prisoner to your palace gate.”  King
Edward says “See that he be conveyed unto the Tower.” All exit but
Richard.  Richard says “Ay, Edward will
use women honorably.”  Richard then lets
us know that he wants to be king, but recognizes all the hurdles he’d have to
jump, asking himself “Why, then, do I dream on sovereignty.”  He then reflects on his malformed body; he often
being referred to as ‘Crookback Richard,’ saying his mother “did corrupt frail
nature with some bribe to shrink mine arm up like a withered shrub, to make an
envious mountain on my back, where sits deformity to  mock my body, to shape my legs of unequal
size.”  Shakespeare here discloses it
all, having Richard say “Since this earth affords no joy to me, I’ll make my
heaven to dream upon the crown.”  But
Richard, unwilling to deny himself, Shakespeare lets him go on to say “But I,
seeking a way, not knowing how, but toiling desperately to find it out, torment
myself to catch the English crown.  And
from that torment I will free myself. Why, I can smile, and murder whiles I
smile, and wet my cheeks with artificial tears, and frame my face to all
occasions.  I can add colors to the
chameleon, and set the murderous Machiavelli to school.  Can I do this and cannot get a crown?”

Abridged Henry VI Part 3/#10/Retaliation/Act 3, Scene 3

The scene opens in the French king’s palace.  Queen Margaret, Prince Edward and the Earl of
Oxford, Warwick’s brother and a Lancaster supporter, are welcomed.  King Louis, France’s king, says “Be plain,
Queen Margaret, and tell thy grief.  It
shall be eased if France can yield relief.”
She says “My Henry has become a banished man and forced to live in
Scotland, while proud Edward Duke of York, usurps the title of England’s lawful
king.”  Warwick enters.  King Louis asks “Brave Warwick, what brings
thee to France?”  Warwick replies “From
worthy Edward, King of England, I come in kindness and to confirm, if thou
vouchsafe to grant, that Lady Bonne, thy fair sister-in-law, to England’s king
in lawful marriage.”  He turns to Lady Bonne
and says “I am commanded to tell thee of the passion of my sovereign’s
heart.”  Cautiously, Margaret says “His
demand from Edward springs from deceit, bred by necessity.”  Warwick (supporting Edward) and Oxford
(supporting Henry) argue over which one is the more legitimate king.  King Louis says “Queen Margaret, Prince
Edward, and Oxford, vouchsafe to stand aside while I use further conference
with Warwick.”  Warwick convinces the
French king that Edward is for real and loves Lady Bonne.  King Louis says “Warwick, our sister-in-law
shall be Edward’s.”  The king turns to
Queen Margaret and says “Bonne shall be wife to the English king.”  In the French King’s presence, Margaret and
Warwick have a fierce but controlled argument.
A Post enters, delivering letters to Oxford, King Louis, and Queen Margaret.  Having read his letter, King Louis cries
“What! Has your king married the Lady Grey?
Dare he presume to scorn us in this manner?”  Warwick says to King Louis and Queen Margaret
“I here renounce him and return to Henry, and replant Henry in his former
state.”  Queen Margaret says “Warwick,
these words have turned my hate to love.”
Warwick says that with help from King Louis “I’ll undertake to land
bands of soldiers on our coast and force the tyrant from his seat by war.  And as for Clarence (George Plantagenet, Duke
of Clarence), as my letter tells me, he’s likely now to fall from his
brother.”  He apologizes to Lady Bonne.
King Louis says “You shall have aid.”
Warwick instructs the Post to “tell Edward from me that he hath done me
wrong, and therefore I’ll uncrown him ere’t be long.”  The Post exits.  King Louis says “Warwick and Oxford, thou,
with five thousand men, shall cross the seas and bid false Edward battle.”  Warwick says “if our queen and this young
prince agree, I’ll join my eldest daughter to him forthwith in holy wedlock bands.”  Queen Margaret encourages her son to agree;
they both do.  King Louis says “I long
till Edward fall by war’s mischance for mocking marriage with a dame of
France.”  All exit but Warwick, who says
“The matter of marriage was the charge Edward gave me, but dreadful war shall
answer his demand.  I shall turn his jest
to sorrow.”