Search Menu

Henry VI Part 1

William Shakespeare

Contents

Act III, Scene i

page 2 of 2

Act III, Scene i

Act III, Scene i

Act III, Scene i

Act III, Scene i

Multiple disagreements between elements of the nobility emerge in this scene, each coming so close on the heels of the last that it appears as if Henry's court is filled exclusively with discontented lords. Gloucester and Winchester argue so fiercely that even their serving men become enraged and create disruptions throughout the city with their violence toward each other. The king must use all of his power to persuade them to desist in their conflict, but the conciliation seems momentary, and violence will likely flare up again later.

Plantagenet asks the king to have his inherited rights reinstated, and the king agrees immediately. Yet as soon as Plantagenet becomes the Duke of York, Somerset curses him, setting the stage for the argument that will dominate the second half of the play. What has Plantagenet done to Gloucester to cause such strife? Or, for that matter, what really caused Gloucester and Winchester to argue so fiercely? Is it true, as Winchester suggests, that Gloucester can't stand the thought of sharing his influence over the king? Or does Winchester actually want total power for himself? The audience will never know. Their unwillingness to work together certainly does not bode well for the nation, as they set off to try to right the troubles in France.

Exeter serves as a kind of commentator in this scene, as he will in future acts. He takes part in the Parliament scene, yet seems to be the only lord with enough insight to see that internal disagreements will weaken the English force in France, causing the eventual loss of English lands there. The king does seem to have some understanding of this danger when he speaks of dissention as a worm that gnaws at the strength of the nation. Yet no one can do anything to stop this threat. The king can barely get the serving men to stop fighting with each other in Parliament, let alone make Winchester and Gloucester actually cease to hate each other.

Thus, this scene presents history as an inevitable series of events unalterable by human agency. Yet other parts of the play emphasize human will as the decisive force behind all events: Talbot, for example, believes that any victory is obtainable if only one fights hard enough for it. These two theories of history sometimes clash directly with one another. For example, whenever conflict occurs between Joan--representing the powers of fate through her alleged connection to higher powers--and Talbot--a figure who makes his own path through action--we can practically see the collision of fate and free will. To some degree, neither force wins: both Joan and Talbot perish before the end of the play. Yet, overall, the forces of fate may prove the stronger: nothing can stop Henry VI's prophecy from coming true.

Test Your Understanding with the Act III, Scene i Quiz

Take a quiz on this section
Test Your Understanding with the Act III, Scene i Quiz

TAKE THE QUIZ
+
#

ACT III, SCENE I QUIZ

Who tears up Gloucester’s bill outside parliament?
Winchester
Warwick
Test Your Understanding with the Act III, Scene i Quiz
TAKE THE QUIZ

Act III, Scene i QUIZ

+
Test Your Understanding with the Act III, Scene i Quiz
TAKE THE QUIZ

More Help

Previous Next
A Young King and the Dangers of a Power Vacuum

by ReadingShakespearefor450th, April 30, 2013

I finished reading and blogged on Henry VI, Part One in effort to read all Shakespeare by April 2014. If it's of interest, my blog link follows:

http://ow.ly/kA2g5

0 Comments

1 out of 1 people found this helpful

essay help

by josephbanks, August 10, 2017

Essay writing was never my forte as English isn’t my first language but because I was good at math so they put me into Honors English. I really couldn’t be assed with reading King Lear and then writing a 5,000 word paper on it so I looked up essay services and

https://digitalessay.net

was the first link to come up. I was kind of shocked with the quality of the paper they gave me. I received a very articulate and well-written piece of writing for like $20. Recommended it to a bunch of my foreign friends and now they use it too.

Good play.

by MariaDPettiford, October 10, 2017

As a brief description for everyone who hasn't read it yet - Henry VI, Part 1, often referred to as 1 Henry VI, is a history play by William Shakespeare, and possibly Christopher Marlowe and/or Thomas Nashe, believed to have been written in 1591 and set during the lifetime of King Henry VI of England. Personally I liked it.

https://homework-writer.com/blog/who-invented-homework