Study Guide

Henry VI Part 2 Act 1, Scene 2

By William Shakespeare

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Act 1, Scene 2

Read the full text of Henry VI Part 2 Act 1 Scene 2 with a side-by-side translation HERE.

  • Over at Gloucester's pad, his wife Eleanor asks Gloucester what's wrong. Why so glum, chum? Maybe it has to do with dreaming of a certain crown?
  • But Gloucester chides his wife for even thinking that he might be dreaming of the crown. Nope, he's down because of a nightmare he had. (Foreshadowing, anyone?)
  • In his dream, Gloucester saw his staff broken in two. Gasp: his staff is his sign of office, so maybe the dream means that his position will be taken away from him.
  • That's weird, because Eleanor had a dream, too: she was crowned at Westminster Abbey, and Henry and Margaret bowed to her. Translation: she was queen, and the current king and queen were her subjects.
  • Hearing this, Gloucester scolds his wife. He warns her that she's already the second lady in the kingdom, given that he's the Protector. If she even talks about dethroning Henry, she could be accused of treason.
  • Whatever, Eleanor says; it was just a dream. She'll just keep her dreams to herself in the future, thank you very much.
  • Just then, a messenger arrives to ask Gloucester to join up with the king on a hunting trip. Gloucester agrees and heads out.
  • Left alone, Eleanor thinks about how much easier it would be to take the crown if she were a man. Well, that's for sure.
  • Eleanor asks a servant, Hume, to help her find a witch to ask about her future (ahem, as potential queen). Hume agrees. Eleanor pays him and leaves.
  • Then Hume does a little musing of his own. Eleanor has just paid him to hire a witch, but Cardinal Beaufort and Suffolk have also paid him to take down Eleanor. How? Well, he's supposed to convince her to take up witchcraft. Well, that was easy; she's doing his job for him.
  • Hume is playing both sides, and he knows that could be dangerous. But, hey: at least he's got gold to keep him company.

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