© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
 

Intro

Flesh and blood

I'm York. I'm a noble in Henry's court and I want power for myself. I've got a good case for the crown, and my sons and nobles to back me up. I'm strong, cunning, and secretive. And you know what I think?

Methinks the realms of England, France and Ireland
Bear that proportion to my flesh and blood
As did the fatal brand Althaea burn'd
Unto the prince's heart of Calydon.
Anjou and Maine both given unto the French!
Cold news for me, for I had hope of France,
Even as I have of fertile England's soil. (1.1.230-236)

Who Said It and Where

No one wants Henry to be king.

Why? Well, for starters, he doesn't exactly do a good job of ruling with an iron fist. Even his wife walks all over him. He's been king since he was a baby, so he's always had nobles around telling him how to the run country, and he's never had to think for himself. Now that he's grown up, he should be able to take over, but he doesn't know how, so all the nobles argue over every single decision.

An example? Henry just took a gamble and gave away some pretty important lands in France to get the hand of his honey, Margaret. The only problem is, when you're a king, more lands equals more power. His nobles are ticked that Henry would willingly give up something so important, and for what? A honey?

Meanwhile, York gets an idea. He's not just angry like the other nobles. He thinks those lands weren't Henry's to give away in the first place. Huh? His argument goes a little something like this: the king owns the lands. York should be king, not Henry. Now before you go thinking he's lost his marbles, he does have a claim to the throne. Henry's granddad stole the throne from Richard II. York descended from Richard II's brother. Since Richard II didn't have any kids of his own, the crown would have been passed along to his brother, and eventually made its way down to York. Get it?

Basically, York thinks he deserves to be king more than the current crown-holder. So York delivers a big speech where he lets us in on what he plans to do. He decides he'll keep all this on the down-low for now, but he wants to seize the crown himself when the time is right.

Advertisement
Advertisement
back to top