Henry VI Part 3 condensed

The king, queen and Young Clifford arrive safely in London, having left Saint Albans in a hurry following the only battle in the War of the Roses. Two of their key allies, Old Clifford and the earl of Somerset, were slain by their foes, Richard duke of York and his son, Richard duke of Gloucester. York, his sons Edward and Richard, and Salisbury and Warwick had chased after the king and his entourage, but had been unable to catch them.  Young Clifford, particularly upset, having lost his father at St. Albans, had vowed revenge, saying “York not our old men spares; henceforth I will not have to do with pity.” 

Act 1. York, his sons and Warwick enter London’s Parliament House, each wearing a white rose.  Richard Plantagenet duke of York boldly steps up on the platform and sits in the king’s throne.  Henry VI enters, a little befuddled.  Warwick talks tough to the king.  The king wilts, conceding his crown.  The queen and their son are devastated.  She asks for a divorce, telling the king she will lead a force against York and his friends.  A number of the king’s aides exit, discouraged.  The queen assembles a twenty-thousand man army.  York’s sons and the Mortimer brothers assemble a five-thousand man army.  It seems York’s sons spend more time thinking about how their father can get the crown than they do about doing things. The battle begins on a field between Sandal and Wakefield.  Lord Clifford practically stumbles across young Rutland, York’s second son.  He kills him.  Lord Clifford then captures Richard duke of York.  He and the queen cruelly mock York, placing a paper crown on his head before knocking it off.  York cries out at the queen “She-wolf of France.”  Northumberland tries to draw calm and compassion to the moment. Clifford and the queen proceed to viciously stab York to death.

Act 2.  York’s sons learn that their brother and father have been murdered by the queen and Clifford.  Warwick lets the Plantagenet brothers know that their father’s troops have dispersed and fled following their father’s murder.  He convinces the brothers to join him.  Warwick gives all three brothers titles.  Warwick and the Plantagenet brothers near the city of York where the king, queen and Clifford have taken refuge.  Clifford persuades the king to go his own way, telling him that the queen does better without him around.  The king, following his wife’s instructions, knights their son.  He soon exits to wander aimlessly.  Separately, to make a point, Shakespeare has a soldier enter, realizing he has killed his father. Another soldier enters, realizing he has killed his son.  Lord Clifford enters fatally wounded with an arrow in his neck.  The Plantagenet brothers taunt him, but Warwick soon says “Ay, but he’s dead.”  Warwick suggests they move on the London where Edward can “be crowned king.”  He tells Edward that he will “ask the Lady Bonne for thy queen.” Edward replies “sweet Warwick, let it be.”  Edward becomes Edward IV.

Act 3. Henry VI is “captured” by two gamekeepers.  They take him to prison. As Warwick prepares to leave for France, Edward woos the widowed Elizabeth Lady Grey.  In France, the queen, her son, and Warwick greet France’s king and his sister-in-law, the Lady Bonne of Savoy.  Warwick proposes that the king’s sister-in-law become Edward’s queen.  The French king and his sister-in-law agree to the offer.  Margaret and her son are distressed.  Warwick wins the moment. A messenger enters announcing that Edward has married the Lady Grey, infuriating Warwick, creating an awkward moment. The French president offers Warwick military support.  Warwick offers his daughter Anne to be the young Prince Edward’s future wife.  The queen accepts the offer. 

Act 4. Back in England, Clarence, upset with his brother Edward’s hasty marriage, switches his allegiance to Warwick.  Warwick offers Clarence his other daughter, Isabella, to be his wife.  Clarence accepts.  Warwick and his French allies enter England. Warwick captures Edward IV and sends him to the Tower.  Edward escapes.  Lady Grey reports that she is pregnant.  Henry VI escapes from prison, with help from a lieutenant.  Warwick and Clarence protect him.  Edward IV, reenergized, arrives in York, recommitted to take the crown from Henry VI. Separately, Henry VI introduces us to the young earl of Richmond, calling him “England’s hope.”  In all the hustle, Henry VI is recaptured and returned as a prisoner to the Tower. 

Act 5. Warwick arrives at Coventry.  Edward IV and his brother Richard also soon arrive. Clarence recommits his allegiance to his brother Edward, following a heated discussion with his brother Richard. Warwick challenges Edward to a fight at Barnet. Edward agrees.  Warwick is seriously wounded saying “live we how we can, yet die we must.”  He dies. Queen Margaret and her son the prince are captured at Tewksbury.  The three Plantagenet brothers stab the young prince to death.  The queen is escorted away.  Richard leaves for London’s Tower.  He ruthlessly stabs Henry VI to death there in his prison cell.  Edward IV and his queen, the Lady Grey, celebrate the birth of their son, the new Prince Edward.

 

Copyright © 2010 Condensed Shakespeare

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