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Henry VI Part 2

William Shakespeare

Act V, Scenes ii-v

Act V, Scene i

Analysis

Summary

Somerset and York enter, fighting. York kills Somerset under the sign of a castle on an alehouse; he remarks that the conjurer who predicted castles in Somerset's death was right. Warwick enters, chasing Clifford. York asks to fight with Clifford, and Warwick departs. They fight, and York kills Clifford. York exits, then Clifford's son arrives, horrified to see soldiers retreating. Then, he sees his father's body. He speaks over the body, wondering that Clifford should have lived so long in peacetime and then died in battle in his old age. If York doesn't spare old men, then he won't spare the youths on York's side. From here on, says Clifford's son, he will have no pity, and he will slay any member of the house of York he meets.

Buckingham, wounded, is carried to his tent. Henry and Margaret enter; Margaret tells Henry he should flee. Henry do not want to, and Margaret is astonished with Henry, who is too scared to fight or to flee. She urges him to save the crown by keeping it and to flee to London where the people support him. Clifford's son enters and urges flight also.

York enters the battlefield with his sons Edward and Richard. It has been a good day, he says, they have won the fight. He asks about the whereabouts of Salisbury; Richard says he helped Salisbury three times when he fell from his horse. Salisbury and Warwick enter. Salisbury thanks Richard for saving him. He agrees they have won the battle but not completed the job, as their enemies have fled. York says he has heard the king has run to London to call a parliament. He suggests they follow, but Warwick says they should beat him to London if they can. He speaks of the St. Albans battle won by York, which will be immortalized in history.

Commentary

And so the play ends, with the completion of the underground plot by York to gain the throne, and the beginning of outright war between Lancaster and York. Scheming and conniving will no longer be the prevailing mode of the court as before, for now swords have been drawn. The third play in this series, 3 Henry IV, will deal with the battles between the various armies, the eventual death of York, and his son Edward's victory over the Lancasters. And it will begin the story of the complex rise to power by York's son Richard, who will plot and scheme in the most bloodthirsty ways to one day become Richard III, in a series of events portrayed in Shakespeare's Richard III . /PARAGRAPH

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Murder Among the Nobility

by ReadingShakespeareby450th, June 01, 2013

I'm reading all Shakespeare by his 450th. I've finished Henry VI, Second Part. If you're interested, you can see my blog about it:

http://ow.ly/l70gS

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