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MonkeyNotes-King Henry VI, Part 3 by William Shakespeare
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In the palace of London, King Edward, Richard (Duke of
Gloucester), George (Duke of Clarence) and Lady Elizabeth Grey
are discussing matters. King Edward informs Richard that Lady
Grey's husband John Grey was killed in the battle at St. Albans and
her lands seized by the conqueror. She now wants them back and
has filed a suit to repossess those lands. Lady Grey says that she
cannot delay the matter, and wants an answer then and there. The
two brothers comment as they watch Edward attempt to seduce
lady Grey and ultimately he wins her affection and offers her
marriage in lieu of the property. Although Lady Grey rejects him at
first, ultimately she accepts the position as Queen. A nobleman
enters and informs them that Henry has been brought as a prisoner
to the palace gates.

Edward orders Henry to the Tower, and all follow except Richard,
who in a long soliloquy expresses his cynical self-centeredness,
ambitions and plans. He says he will not allow his plan to become
king to be sabotaged by Edward or his offspring. He shall plan
silently to achieve his purpose a - a cold premeditation. His dream
of being king is clearly expressed here even though it appears to be
a problem due to the number of heirs in his way. He deplores his
physical self and yet is self-absorbed and single-minded. He is sure
that no woman can love him and since this earth affords no other
joy to him, he must become ruler even if it means destroying lives.


This scene emphasizes Edward's weakness for women, which will
lead to another fatal marriage, involving another a breech of faith
as well as disgracing Warwick and alienating France.

The scene begins with Edward listening to Lady Grey's suit and
finding her attractive enough to seduce right there. Edward decides
to delay the grant of her suit with an intention. Richard and George
understand his intentions because they know Edward's weakness
for women. George says, 'He knows the game; how true he keeps
the wind.'

He is duplicitous and full of innuendo as he attempts to flatter her.
Lady Grey matches him in wit. To Edward's questions she gives a
blunt answers and when he tells her plainly that he wants to go to
bed with her, she firmly rejects him, saying, 'Why then mine
honesty shall be my dower; For by that loss I will not purchase

She is a clever woman who cannot be lured by hasty offers and
decisions. But when Edward proposes marriage to her, she replies
that as an ordinary subject as she is, it would be unfair to be his
queen. She asserts the importance of her sons calling Edward their
father. Edward's reply is significant and shows his character;

'And by God's mother, I, being but a bachelor,
Have other some. Why, tis a happy thing,
To be the father unto many sons'.

He will do anything to conquer this woman including adopting her
sons. This shocks his brothers, especially Gloucester who now sees
many obstacles blocking his way to the crown. In this scene,
Richard takes on the cruel and cynical determination that will
eventually result in his takeover of English rule. Although much
has been hinted at, in this soliloquy, Richard expresses his cynical,
self-centered and monomaniacal ambitions. He questions his
ambitions, revealing that it is his deformities that allow for his
maligned sense of justice. Because he is deformed, he cannot be a
great lover of women and so power through rule is his only option.
"And am I then a man to be beloved?' shows that his failure to
attract women is related to his disproportionate body. He feels
justified in using any method to gain access to the crown whether it
is violence or duplicity because his external self is a reflection of
own internal moral defects.

He refers to a host of literary allusions from Homer to Machiavelli
who have also used duplicity and treachery and seduction to
achieve their goals. Placing himself among these, the audience
realizes what an extreme sense of self-importance he has and how
ruthless he is yet he frames it within a discourse that makes it seem
that his ambitions are tied to the wellbeing of the state.

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MonkeyNotes-King Henry VI, Part 3 by William Shakespeare

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