Henry VI Part 2

by: William Shakespeare

Act III, Scenes ii-iii

Commentary

Henry makes his first command decision here, to banish Suffolk, but only because the commoners demand it. It seems that the commoners are more attuned to the plots in the court than even the king is, but he gladly uses their demands as an excuse for an order he was probably glad to give. It is the first time that the other lords and Margaret cannot manipulate him. Henry uses the desires of the commoners as support for his actions--an unusual gesture for a king, who often ignored the plight of the common people. Yet in this case the commoners were right, and they enabled Henry to eliminate a genuine problem to his reign.

Margaret and Suffolk declare their mutual affection before he departs. She is convinced that she will regain her manipulative influence over Henry and will be able to be with Suffolk again. Yet her long monologue when Henry mourns for Gloucester reveals her bitterness at having come to England and her dissatisfaction at being Henry's wife. It is unlikely that she will now return to Henry's favor.


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