Sunday, February 6, 2011

3 Henry 6: Act 1 Scene 4


this play is crazy!!! i seriously don't know what to do with myself. i officially cannot predict what the heck is going to happen. i also don't know whose side i am on. i'm not sure if that is Shakespeare's intention. if it is... job well done. okay i can't even talk about something else, you just have to hear this. i was shocked after the first line:

York: Queen Margaret and her army have won! my uncles have died, my followers fled, and God knows what has happened to my sons. here come her followers. i am too faint to flee.
   (Margaret, Clifford Northumberland Prince Edward, etc. enter.)
Northumberland: yield to us, York.
Clifford: you are fighting a losing battle.
   (Clifford threatens York with his sword.)
Margaret: calm down, Clifford!
   (they capture York.)
York: 'so triumph thieves on their conquered booty;' and real men yield when they are outmatched by thieves.
Margaret: what, were you going to be King of England? where are all your sons to help you? where is your little Rutland? this napkin is stained with his blood. (she gives it to him.) if i didn't hate you so much, i would pity you. what, no tears for your son? York can't speak without a crown on his head! (she puts a paper crown on his head.) yes, now you're a king. you are breaking your oath! take him and kill him.
Clifford: let me do it and avenge my father's death.
Margaret: wait, let's hear what he has to say.
York: Margaret, you are poison. 'how ill-beseeming is it in thy sex to triumph.' where do you get off? who is your father? a poor nobody? beauty makes women proud, but God knows you are not beautiful. (see quote below.) i will weep, and every tear cries to avenge Rutland's death. (he weeps.)
Northumberland: i can't believe this, but i actually feel bad for him.
York: Rutland's face was so sweet that even cannibals would have left him alone. even my enemies weep for him. Clifford, kill me.
Margaret: Northumberland, are you crying? remember all the wrong he has done!
Clifford: this is for the oath. and this is for my father.
   (Clifford stabs him.)
Margaret: and this is for our gentle king.
   (Margaret stabs him. York dies.)
Margaret: chop his head off and set it on his gate so the Duke of York may overlook the town of York.

crazy, right? i did not anticipate this at all. i thought this play was going to be Henry vs. York. well, it's act 1 and York is dead and Henry hasn't shown his face since scene 1. the first two plays in this series were at least somewhat predictable to me, but this one is different. from here, i would predict that York's eldest son would try to avenge his father's death. i also think that Clifford will probably be killed by one of York's sons. as for Henry and Margaret? i'm really not sure, but i am excited to find out.

as for Margaret, i don't know whether to love or hate her, but i do know that she is one fierce lady. she continues to surprise me. the way she talks to York, mocking and prodding him? she has major cajones. add her to the unruly women list with Adriana from Comedy of Errors (not nearly as outlandish as Margaret), Joan of Arc from 1 Henry 6, and Eleanor from 2 Henry 6. they've all surprised me, but Margaret takes the cake. who could top this? will she pay for her behavior? in what way? what do you think?

quote of the day:
'o tiger's heart wrapped in a woman's hide!
how couldst thou drain the lifeblood of the child,
to bid the father wipe his eyes withal,
and yet be seen to bear a woman's face?
women are soft, mild, pitiful, and flexible;
thou stern, obdurate, flinty, rough, remorseless.
bidd'st thou me rage? why, now thou hast thy wish.
wouldst have me weep? why, now thou hast thy will.
for raging wind blows up incessant showers,
and, when the rage allays, the rain begins.' (he weeps.)
     -York; act 1, scene 4

for tomorrow: act 2, scene 1 and hopefully scene 2

-rebecca may


  1. La Bella Mafia! Margaret is so gangsta. I was cackling about that paper crown and her decision to post his head so it could look out on his town. Of course, his "how ill-beseeming is it in thy sex to triumph" comment made me want to go O-Ren Ishii on his ass.

    Don't you find it interesting that she stabs York "for our gentle king"? Much of her previous behavior involved adulterous love and showing disdain toward her husband. More recently, it seemed that she went to war solely for the sake of her children. I wonder if she has discovered a new affection for Henry or if she thinks conjuring thoughts of him is the most effective way to psychologically torture York in his last moments of consciousness.

  2. susan, good point. i'm not sure yet, because she unfortunately wasn't in today's scenes. i can't wait to find out!