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Free Study Guide-Henry VI, Part 2 by William Shakespeare-Free Book Notes
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The scene takes place at Alexander Iden’s garden in Kent. Cade enters and curses himself for being an ambitious but unsuccessful man. For the past five days he has been hiding in the woods because the whole country is against him. He is so hungry that he says he cannot stay there any longer. He has climbed the brick wall and come to this garden to see whether he can find any food.

As he lies down and picks some herbs to eat, Iden and his men enter. Iden says that anyone would enjoy walking in this marvelous place after experiencing the turmoil in the court. This small inheritance his father left him makes him very happy and is worth a monarchy to him. He does not wish to grow more powerful at the expense of others or to amass great wealth for others to envy. Cade remains hidden. If Iden captures him, he will get a thousand crowns for Cade’s head. Cade decides to kill Iden.

Iden asks Cade why he has climbed over his garden wall to rob him. Cade scornfully threatens to kill Iden. Iden replies that as long as England stands, it would be a disgrace for Iden, “an esquire of Kent,” to enter into combat with a hungry man. He asks Cade to look at him carefully from head to foot and to see whether he (Cade) can match him in strength and valor. Cade challenges him, and they start fighting. Cade falls. Cade shouts that hunger has made him fall. Had he consumed the ten meals, which he missed, he would have the strength to fight Iden and his men.

He also curses Iden’s beautiful garden and says that it should be the burial place for all the members of the household. Iden realizes who this man is and calls him a monstrous traitor. Cade bids Iden farewell and asks him to be proud of his victory. He says that Kent has lost her best man. Iden condemns Cade as a damned wretch and says that it is better that he dies. He will take Cade’s head to the king and leave his body for the crows.


The ambitious Cade has returned from hiding and is in Iden’s garden, where he hungrily searches for food. Iden is portrayed as a decent country squire who is very much contented with his life. He claims that the small inheritance his father has left him is “worth a monarchy.” As a man who is not greedy for money and power, he stands in contrast to many of the other characters in this play. Cade threatens to kill Iden if Iden should attempt to capture him.

Cade is confident that although he has not eaten for the past five days, he is more than a match for Iden and his five men. In his next speech, after being stabbed, he says, “Let ten thousand devils come against me, and give me but the ten meals I have lost, and I’d defy them all.” Even as he dies, Cade proclaims that Kent has lost one of her best men and that hunger, not valor, has defeated him. Cade plays the role of a bold, ambitious warrior as he dies in front of the audience.

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Free Study Guide-Henry VI, Part 2 by William Shakespeare-Free Plot Summary


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