Study Guide

Henry VI Part 3 Act 2, Scene 5

By William Shakespeare

Act 2, Scene 5

Read the full text of Henry VI Part 3 Act 2 Scene 5 with a side-by-side translation HERE.

  • On a hill, Henry watches the battle and wonders which side is winning. Then he goes all philosopher on us and thinks about the life of a king.
  • Henry's life is full of sadness. It would have been much, much better if he were a simple shepherd. If he were a shepherd, he wouldn't have the deep worries that he has as king.
  • As Henry's talking, he notices a soldier carrying a dead soldier. The soldier searches the dead man for gold coins or anything valuable that he can pawn off.
  • Then the live soldier removes the dead soldier's helmet. Oh, no—"[I]t is my father's face," he proclaims. The soldier has gone and killed his own father in the battle. He weeps.
  • Henry watches and thinks about how these civil wars are really bloody.
  • Just then, another soldier enters and does the same thing as the first—searches for loot on a dead guy's body. Then he realizes he's killed his own son. How will he tell his wife the news? How will he go on living?
  • Henry says to himself that it's all the nobles' fault. They're fighting over a crown and riches when regular folk are losing their sons and fathers. The soldiers leave, and Henry feels super depressed.
  • Things go from bad to worse when first Prince Edward and then Margaret enter and tell Henry to run. Warwick is winning, and they've got to get out of there.