Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version
SCENE SUMMARY WITH NOTES
ACT V, SCENE 2
The place is St. Albans; alarms to the battle are heard. Warwick enters and tells Clifford of Cumberland to come out from hiding and fight with him. York enters on foot and says that Clifford killed his horse but that he (York) has likewise slain Clifford’s horse. Clifford enters, and at first, a verbal duel occurs between Warwick, York and Clifford. Then York and Clifford fight and the latter dies. Young Clifford enters and laments the death of his father. He begs the soldiers not to run away.
Young Clifford wonders if his father was predestined to die at this early age in a “ruffian battle.” His heart is turned to stone at this sight, and he vows that he will cut even the infants of the York household into as many pieces as he can. He will become famous by his cruelty. He takes away the body of his father. Richard and Somerset fight, and Somerset is killed.
The king and queen enter during the fighting. The queen urges the king to flee and accuses him of being too slow. The enemy is sure to overtake them, and that will be the end of them. If they escape, they can go back to London where Henry will be loved, and all their troubles will end. Young Clifford re-enters asks the king to flee for his own safety.
This scene shows the fall of Clifford. Seeing the body of his father, young Clifford becomes furious. He vows to take vengeance by killing every infant of the York household. He does not mind being known as a notorious killer and even compares himself to Medea. When Medea fled with Jason from Calchos, she murdered her brother, Absyrtus, and cut his body into several pieces so that her father would for some time be distracted from pursuing her.
Queen Margaret displays her usual impatience with King Henry’s passive nature as they flee their enemies.
ACT V, SCENE 3
The place is the fields near St. Albans. York, Richard, Warwick and the soldiers enter. York appreciates Salisbury’s performance in the war. He calls him “(t)hat winter lion who in rage forgets/ Aged contusions and all brush of time,/ And, like a gallant in the brow of youth,/ Repairs him with occasion.” Richard tells his father, York, that three times he had tried to dissuade Salisbury from further fighting, but Salisbury was relentless. Salisbury enters and thanks Richard for saving him three times that day from death. York says that he has heard that the king has fled to London and is going to call a present court of Parliament. He suggests that they follow him there. Warwick says that it has been a glorious day: York has won the St. Albans battle, which shall be immortalized.
The play ends with the Yorks having regained the throne for the time being. They set off for London to address the Parliament. The issue of succession will be resolved in Henry VI, Part 3.