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Act II, SCENE 6
The scene is another part of the field where Clifford enters with an
arrow in his neck. He sadly says his end is near and his candle is
going to burn out. He fears the King's fall more than his own death,
and he knows that with his death the proud York family will
overthrow the poor King. The common people have no other
choice but to fly according to the light of the sun. Henry's enemies
are shining now. He laments about the inability of Henry to be an
able king. He becomes very weak due to excessive bleeding from
his wounds and before fainting, he asks York and Richard,
Warwick and the rest to come and split his breast for stabbing their
Warwick, Richard, George, Montague and Edward enter,
discussing the battle and wondering what has happened to Clifford.
Warwick assures them that Richard had wounded Clifford
seriously and he should be surely dead by now. Just then, they hear
a deadly groan of a man dying and curiously look around to see
who it is. Discovering it is Clifford, they decide to have fun with
him even though he is presumably dead. They begin to taunt him
endlessly, each of them offering a particular form of torture despite
him already being dead. Finally Warwick suggests they behead
him and place his head where the duke of York's is. Afterwards,
they will install Edward as king and then Warwick will go to
France and propose the union of Edward with Lady Bona so there
will not be the fear of the possibility of a rebellion from France.
The overjoyed Edward expresses his gratitude and says he shall
never do anything without the consent of Warwick on whose
shoulder he builds his nest. Edward declares Richard, the Duke of
Gloucester, George the Duke of Clarence. Richard says he wants to
be the Duke of Clarence because Gloucester's dukedom is too
ominous, remarking on the bad luck attached to the title. Warwick
objects and says that it is a foolish observation and urges them to
proceed to London.
This scene shows the fall of Clifford, the King's greatest supporter
as well as vengeful fighter and the right hand to the Queen. The
scene begins with Clifford entering wounded with an arrow in his
neck. He appears to be utterly exhausted and weak with deep
wounds and excessive bleeding. His concern for the King is well
shown in his words,
'Oh Lancaster, I fear thy overthrow
More than my body's parting with my soul'
He has a sense of his own importance, thinking that without him,
the kingdom is in danger. He also expresses his mistrust in the
people and says that the commons are like fly's that fly in the
direction of light. Where they see power they lean on that direction
and extend their support in that direction.
Even as he is dying, he castigates the king for being so weak. Had
he been firm like his father and grandfather, York would never
have sprung up. Clifford's final statement was:
'Come, York and Richard, Warwick and the rest;
I stabb'd your fathers' bosoms, split my breast.'
This indication that he deserves to be finished off by the Yorkists
reveals the deadly circle of revenge that envelops its participants.
He is almost waiting for them to finish him off so that someone
else will avenge his death.
The cycle of viciousness is revealed by the taunts of the Yorkists
who try their best to make Clifford repent for his bloody deeds
despite the fact that he is dead. The comments come off as being
bizarre as they are addressing someone who is oblivious to their
taunts yet they must avenge the horrible death of York in a similar
Warwick then announces the coronation of Edward and the
possible marriage between Lady Bona of France and Edward. This
alliance between England and France will seal their relationship
more strongly and rule out the possibility of any rebellion that may
arise in France. This shows Warwick's statesmanship and keen
sense of foreseeing the future as well as Edward's acquiescence to
Warwick's authority that will prove to be his weakness against his
The Act began with the possible defeat of the Yorkists and ends
with their bitter victory over the Lancastrians despite the number
of fatalities on either side.
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