Study Guide

Henry VI Part 3 Act 3, Scene 2

By William Shakespeare

Act 3, Scene 2

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


  • Back at the palace, Edward, Richard, George, and Lady Elizabeth Grey talk about Lady Grey and her wealth. We learn that her hubby was killed, and she wants his lands back.
  • Richard and George talk to each other in a bunch of asides. (Basically, they're trying to talk to each other without Lady Grey hearing.) They think Edward will give her lands back as long as the two of them become, ahem, more than friends.
  • Edward has a conversation alone with Lady Grey while his brothers snicker at them.
  • Edward tells Lady Grey he will give her lands back to her if she loves him. He's not happy when he gets rejected.
  • So then Edward asks Lady Grey to marry him.
  • Wait, what? That's right: Edward takes one denial to be the green light for popping the question.
  • Lady Grey thinks it's all a joke. She's not good enough to be a queen, she says. She's too low class to be a queen, but she's too high class to be his prostitute, so it looks like they're at an impasse.
  • But Edward insists and says that Lady Grey raises pointless objections. She tells him he won't like it when her sons call him dad. He comes back and says that she'll like it even less when his daughters call her mom.
  • There will be no more discussion, Edward says. Lady Grey will be queen.
  • Edward announces the news to his brothers, who are shocked. They tell Edward that he barely knows this lady. The whole thing is strange, they say, and on top of it all, she just doesn't seem that into him.
  • Before anyone can break up the engagement party, a nobleman comes in and tells everyone that Henry has been captured.
  • Edward orders Henry taken to the Tower. He rushes off to see Henry, and the others follow him.
  • Alone on stage, Richard tells us that he hopes Edward and his new wife don't have any kids; that would really put a damper on things, because he wants the crown for himself. Um, okay.
  • Because Richard is physically deformed, he knows no one will love him, so he figures he should "dream upon the crown" instead. If Edward and Lady Grey have kids, he'll be even further away from the crown than he is now.
  • Richard's jaw-dropping speech contains one heck of a confession: he plans to "set the murderous Machiavel to school." Translation: he's planning to manipulate everyone into turning against one another so that he can take the crown for himself.
  • Richard ends the speech by asking: "Can I do this, and cannot get a crown? Tut, were it farther off, I'll pluck it down." Yikes. So this whole time, he's actually just wanted the power for himself—not for his father, and not for his brother. He's planning to get that crown on his head, even if he has to be a hypocritical, manipulative killer for it.