Saturday, February 19, 2011

3 Henry 6: Act 5, Scenes 4 and 5


this play is INSANE! i keep thinking about how movies are written these days; most of the time, the main characters are never killed. or if there are multiple main characters, only one will die. Shakespeare kills people off right and left. i realize that what i'm reading now is based on history, but it's the same in his tragedies, right? i mean, look how many people die in Hamlet. i just feel like that doesn't really happen in mainstream entertainment these days. people would be really upset. i wonder how audiences felt about all these characters dying. did they know the history already anyway? did they react the same to the histories as they did the tragedies? were they so desensitized to this stuff that it was no big deal? anyone care to share?

brace yourselves:
act 5, scene 4
   (Margaret, Prince Edward, and their posse enter.)
Margaret: we must stay strong! (see quote below.) yes, we have lost Warwick and Montague, but don't we still have Oxford and Somerset? and France? we must stay the course, and we must have courage!
Prince: these words would turn any coward to bravery. if any of you here are cowards, leave now before we need your help.
Oxford: your grandfather lives in you, Prince Edward.
   (Edward and the York posse enter.)
Edward: let's fight!
Margaret: all right, men, listen to me. Henry has been taken captive, England is in shambles, our people are being slaughtered, and all of our money is being stolen and spent. and it is all Edward's fault. justice is on our side. to battle!

act 5, scene 5
   (Edward, Clarence, and Gloucester enter, with Margaret, Somerset, and Oxford as prisoners.)
Edward: take Oxford to prison, and behead Somerset. 'i will not hear them speak.'
Oxford: i won't trouble you with what i have to say.
Somerset: and neither will i. (they exit.)
   (soldiers enter with Prince Edward.)
Edward: there's the little jerk. let's hear what he has to say.
Prince Edward: you should speak to me like a subject to royalty, York, because that is what you are!
Margaret: if only your father had been this brave!
Prince Edward: i am better than you, Edward. you are a traitor. you have stolen my father's right to the crown, and mine.
   (Edward, Gloucester, and Clarence each stab Prince Edward. he dies.)
Margaret: kill me too! (Gloucester goes for it.)
Edward: wait, Richard. we have done too much already.
Gloucester: (aside to Clarence) excuse me, i must leave for London immediately. to the Tower!
Margaret: he was just a child. men shouldn't kill children. kill me right now! please, Clarence!
Clarence: i swore i wouldn't.
Margaret: we all know you've broken your oaths before. do it now!
Edward: take her away!
Margaret: 'so come to you and yours as to this prince!' (she is taken away.)
Edward: where is Gloucester?
Clarence: to London. he left very quickly.
Edward: he is so weird and impulsive. let's go to London too and see if my wife has had a baby yet.

so Margaret is pretty awesome these days. i don't know where she came from, but i'm kind of in love with her now. what a fun character that would be to play across this series. the arch of her character is fascinating!she just lays it all out on the line. she says what she thinks and feels, and she says it bluntly. to me, she's the fiercest female character we've had yet. i continue to be intrigued by Shakespeare's women. can't wait to read some more!

i am SO scared for Henry. i think we all know now that i'm in love with him. the truth shall be revealed tomorrow... eek! if he dies, it better be epic at least.

'great lords, wise men ne'er sit and wail their loss,
but cheerly seek how to redress their harms.
what thou the mast be now blown overboard,
the cable broke, the holding-anchor lost,
and half our sailors swallowed in the flood?
yet lives our pilot still. is't meet that he
should leave the helm, and like a fearful lad,
with tearful eyes add water to the sea,
and give more strength to that which hath too much,
whiles, in his moan, the ship splits on the rock,
which industry and courage might have saved?'
   -Margaret; act 5, scene 4

for tomorrow: the end of the play!!!

-rebecca may


  1. I wouldn't say these plays are exactly based on history. They're based on Holinshed's Chronicles, which is fantastical history at best. Shakespeare was smart. He knew he had to take liberties if folks were going to keep interested by his history plays. He messed with peoples ages. He messed with time lines. He messed with who killed who. He even added and conflated characters willy nilly.

    For example, the real Margaret didn't kill York... and it's unlikely she actually led the troops into battle. But, it's way more theatrical if she does all those things.

    Additionally, having watched the same woman play Margaret over three plays, it's safe to say that she's got one of the better archs of the series. She another example of Shakespeare writing bad ass women... of which there are more than a few in the canon.

  2. Shannon, thanks for your input! i love that Shakespeare had Margaret do all those things. i still wonder what influences (other than Queen Elizabeth) he had in his life to inspire these kick butt women!

  3. I like to imagine that his wife was quite the spit-fire... but I have absolutely no proof. :)