Wednesday, January 26, 2011

2 Henry 6: Act 3, Scene 1


i've got to be honest. i. am. tired. i am stressed out. i am in rehearsal for 3 things and i'm in 6 classes and i'm (foolishly?) trying to make this happen. at this point, i could probably sleep for 24 hours straight if i had the time and i didn't have all these weird dreams i've been having. i thought today i could read a bigger chunk of the play, but it just couldn't happen. i've decided that i will probably frequently have to change my daily reading plan, and i can't feel guilty about it every time. i have to accept that i won't always have as much time as i would like to devote to this. especially during this spring term. i think that as long as i stay close to my intended schedule, i have to be okay with it. correct? correct.

okay, let's go over what happened in act 3, scene 1:
(Henry, Margaret, and all the meanies at Parliament)
Margaret: you know what? G has really changed. he's really moody and insolent, and i'm not feeling it. we  need to be careful because the people of England really like him. he could probably gain control really quickly considering the fact that he's next in line for the crown and the fact that people would back him up. we should take care of this now.
Suffolk: Gloucester is guilty of secret treason. fact.
Henry: he is innocent! i'm sure of it!
Margaret: any wolf can hide in sheep's clothing.
   (enter Somerset)
Somerset: all of France is lost to us.
Richard, Duke of York (aside): damn. i wanted France. i will have it one day.
   (enter Gloucester)
Suffolk: you're under arrest for treason.
York: you took bribes, kept our soldiers' pay for yourself, and it's your fault we lost France.
Gloucester: not true. if anything, i've been too generous.
York: and you tortured people inhumanely.
Gloucester: also not true. the only ones i tortured at all were murderers. i'm probably too soft on criminals.
Suffolk: whatever. there's other things.
Henry: i hope you are innocent. i still believe you are.
Gloucester. these are dangerous times. everyone is after me, and after the crown. and you, Margaret, are trying to turn your husband against me. you're all plotting against me.
Cardinal: take him away.
Gloucester: (see quote below.)
   (Gloucester leaves in custody)
Henry: i'm leaving. i'm so sad for Gloucester. how could they hate him so much? with the power of all of them against him, he doesn't stand a chance. but i will never turn against him.
   (Henry and others leave)
Margaret: Henry is foolish. we are better to be rid of Gloucester.
Cardinal: yeah, but we have to do this through the courts.
Suffolk: i'm not sure about this. Henry will defend him, the people will back him up, and we have no real
evidence against him.
...some stuff i don't understand... they agree to kill him somehow?
Messenger: the rebels in Ireland have risen! do something!
York (sarcastically): let's send Somerset since he did such a great job in France.
Somerset: shut it.
Cardinal: York, go to Ireland and take care of business.
York: will do. get soldiers ready and i will get myself ready.
Cardinal: and i will take care of Gloucester.
   (all leave except Richard, Duke of York)
York: i must be strong now. those idiots are giving me soldiers, which i will use as my weapon to gain 
England. I have this guy John Cade who has sworn to help me stir things up here in England while I do my work in Ireland. when i get back, i will reap what he sowed. Gloucester will be dead, and Henry will be done. (cue evil laughter.)

i know that was a little long. will work to shorten it up next time. i just gotta get the hang of it!

as susan brought up in a comment yesterday, i am loving this whole hypocrisy thread that is running through the play so far. it's kind of perfectly set up. i feel like Shakespeare makes you like Gloucester. G is a good guy and he makes good decisions. see, Henry is a good guy too, but he makes dumb decisions and he's really oblivious to... everything. which is kinda annoying. Gloucester is wicked smart and often perceptive, so he's more likable. this is my impression anyway. so all these people working against him really makes me mad. and those people basically accuse him of the crimes they themselves are committing. so you hate them more and love Gloucester more. brilliant. and the web gets stickier all the time. if they get Gloucester in the end, i am going to be t-i-c-k-e-d. we shall see! any other thematic thoughts?

quote of the day:
'ah, thus King Henry throws away his crutch
before his legs be firm to bear his body.
thus is the shepherd beaten from thy side,
and wolves are gnarling who shall gnaw thee first.
ah, that my fear were false; ah, that it were!
for good King Henry, thy decay I fear.'
     -Gloucester; act 3, scene 1

for tomorrow: act 3, scene 2

hope this was more user-friendly! either way, we keep on keepin' on.

-rebecca may, Lover of Gloucester


  1. Perhaps the hypocrisy of politicians sets up the play's ultimate paradox: that Henry, through his devout Christian goodness, brings about the evil that is his own tragedy.

    I think, rebecca, that you're right about Henry being less sympathetic than Gloucester, despite his good intentions. In fact, his fate seems less tragic given his ineffectual leadership and cowardice.

    That brings me to a question: does Henry rely too heavily on others (e.g. Gloucester, God, etc.) to do his governing for him? The final passage quoted above certainly seems to suggest that Gloucester thinks as much.

  2. I like that quote about the sheep, shepherd, and wolves.

    Rebecca, your abbreviated adaptation of the scene is very funny, like Tom Stoppard's FIFTEEN MINUTE HAMLET.

    Erin go bragh! (Just seizing today's reading as an excuse to let out a little of my Sinn Fein)

  3. I agree with Susan, it is like a run down from The Compleat Works Abridged.

    I love the sense of betrayal in the quote of the day. You can almost see Gloucester shaking his head and saying, "Oh Henry, Henry, Henry."

    Maybe it would help keep to your plan, Rebecca, if you axed the sonnets or saved them to the end. There are so many of them. As you know, poetry is not my poison of choice, so I am more interested in reading the plays.

  4. Okay, so you know that I love research and I made it a recent quest to learn about the real Henry VI. I was surprised by his magnanimity (not sure of my spelling there--I am tired). I discovered that the man was in consideration of canonization in the Catholic Church until Henry VIII screwed it up with his break from Rome. He founded both King's College, Cambridge and Eton. It is said that he could perform miracles and there is a volume of miracles attributed to him in the King George Chapel at Windsor. (I wish I'd know this when I visited there.)

    Something else I didn't connect, is that Henry VI is the ghost that appears in Richard III. As many times as I read it and even though I SMed it--I just made the connection. A real du-uh moment.

    Going back to Eton and King's for a minute, I discovered that every year the two colleges lay flowers at the site of his murder in the Tower of London. They are lillies and RED roses. (Also chosen as the school flowers.) Do schools in America have flowers? In both the final chapter of Henry VI and Richard III, Shakespeare accuses RIII of that murder. The real Henry was captured and imprisoned in the Wakefield Tower at the Tower of London. He died on the 21 or 22 of May 1471 and it was put about that he died of melancholy because of the defeat at Tewkesbury and subsequent death of his son on that battlefield. Tradition has long held, however, that he was murdered in the Wakefield Tower as he knelt at prayer.

  5. today wins for most amazing comments! you have offered a lot to think about. thank you! keep it coming!

  6. After having performed in all three parts of this trilogy, I am chomping at the bit to see you make your discoveries. I think one scene a day is a fine and wonderful idea. It gives you time to chew over things. Re-read and not feel that you MUST get through it all immediately.

    Re: Gloucester and King Henry.

    Gloucester has nowbeen there from the beginning. Henry knows not how to govern bu by Gloucester's advice and Gloucester is blond to anything but the letter of the law (see York's dismissal from France). Now King Henry must obey the lawthat he finds unjust, because that's what Gloucester would do. So Gloucester is imprisoned. And everyone wants him dead for their own personal gain. Save Warwick and Salisbury, want strong leaders for the safety and strength of their country.

    Don't know if my comments open more questions than anything else. But these are my thoughts...

  7. I know it was just a typo, but "blond to anything but the letter of the law" becomes a definitive statement here. LOL. it harks back to some of the foolish decisions made by other characters in classical lit. Example: Oedipus is "blond" when he refuses to see the truth as proferred by Tiresius in Oedipus Rex, by the same token so is Creon in Antigone and Moliere's Tartuffe. In fact, "Blond to anything but the letter of the law" can be attributed to a couple of administrators I know. OMG...this typo can become my catch phrase of the year. I am loving it. Gosh, I hope some of the plethora of typographical errors I make in thess things can open avenues of thought!

    Tyler, your character insights are interesting! Where did you do the trilogy?

  8. More research and thus more spoilers:

    Henry was buried at The Tower of London. It was RICHARD III that moved his remains and had them interred at the aforementioned King George Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle. Doesn't sound like something a murderer would do to me. Just saying.

    Henry VII needed to use the veneration of Henry VI as propaganda to support his own causes. He allowed much information and misinformation to to go around about his predecessor for his personal gain. At the end of The War of the Roses, he allowed the speculation to drop because it was no longer necessary to him needs. This is what led to Henry VI being a candidate for sainthood. Too bad that Henry VIII messed it up with a new agenda.

    Okay...time to go to bed. I am watching a Tony Orlando infomercial. Way over the edge.

  9. After reading this I wanted to say I really like the new set up. It makes it easier to follow the characters and what they say spark noe style :) I enjoy this blog and keep up the awesome work.

  10. I agree with Baby Bird. Keep it up. This new method of modern translation really makes me want to play Glouchester, or direct it, or even read it myself, or see it performed. I'm sooo glad, that despite a busy schedule, you are still doing this. It is the ONLY blog I follow, because it is not only very interesting, but also alot of fun to hear one's social and logical commentary on Shakespeare and ALL of his works! :) Congrats! I'm very proud of you!