Study Guide

Henry VI Part 3 Act 2, Scene 2

By William Shakespeare

Act 2, Scene 2

Read the full text of Henry VI Part 3 Act 2 Scene 2 with a side-by-side translation HERE.

  • Margaret, Clifford, Northumberland, and Prince Edward all arrive at York (as in the town) and greet Henry.
  • Margaret tells Henry to look at the head of the severed guy who tried to steal his throne.
  • Henry's not amused. He tells Margaret to let it go and stop seeking revenge.
  • Clifford asks Henry to think of his own son. Prince Edward deserves the crown, so he shouldn't steal it from him. York wanted to steal it, so he was punished.
  • Clifford delivers some words about the importance of families.
  • Henry isn't convinced. Sons don't always like it when their dads to leave them stuff. It doesn't always work out well; Henry himself doesn't seem so thrilled that his father left him the crown.
  • Then Margaret tries to cheer Henry up by telling him to knight Prince Edward. Henry does, and it gets everyone thinking about how Prince Edward is now a true prince. (We'll call this Edward "Prince Edward" now to distinguish him from York's son Edward, the new Duke of York.)
  • A messenger arrives with news that Warwick and the Duke of York (that would be York's son Edward now) are marching toward them, ready for battle.
  • Looks like the family celebration is over.
  • Clifford tells the king to get lost, because Margaret is much better off without him around. Margaret agrees.
  • Henry, however, doesn't budge: he wants a part of this and decides to stay.
  • The York crew (Edward, Warwick, Richard, George, Norfolk, and Montague) enter, all fired up.
  • Edward tells Henry that he better put his crown on his (Edward's) head or else.
  • What a joke, Margaret says. This is the king of England right here—Henry.
  • There's a lot of arguing and name-calling. Each side believes they are the true heirs to the throne.
  • Finally, Henry tries to put an end to it and asks people to hear him speak. Margaret just scolds him. Out with it or be quiet, she says.
  • Meanwhile, Clifford and Richard are going at it over where their "manhood" lies (no, really); Edward and Warwick tell Henry he'll have blood on his head if the crown is not theirs; and Prince Edward stands up for his father. It's all happening so quickly that the insults and burns are hard to keep track of.
  • Then, Edward delivers a stinger: he says that Henry married a "beggar" (Margaret) and they all pitied him for it. Plus, she's so power hungry that it's just sad.
  • Yep. It just got real.
  • Edward won't put up with it any longer: he wants to talk things over with the king, but since Margaret refuses to let the king speak, he has no other choice. To the battlefield—they'll fight for the crown.
  • Margaret tells Edward to stay, but he flat-out denies her. Ten thousand people will die because of her words, he claims as he departs.

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