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Edward is the son of Richard, Duke ofYork and was attainted as a
Yorkist in 1459. He defeated Henry VI's forces at Northampton
and proclaimed King Edward IV in 1461. He was defeated and fled
to Holland but returned and captured Henry who had been
reinstalled as king. He slew Warwick at Barnet and captured
Margaret at Tewkesbury, killing her son immediately after the
battle. Edward is unscrupulous and ambitious and shows this early
on in the play when he persuades his father to go back on his
agreement with Henry. This shows his lack of respect of moral
values and principles. When he hears of his father's death, he is
deeply affected although minutes later, he asserts his superiority
when he tells Richard that their father has left him the dukedom
and his valor and name with Richard.
Edward's indiscreet nature is shown by his marriage to Lady Grey
rather than to the French princess. He is a philanderer and ruled
more by his libido than by his head. This makes for another
distracted ruler even though he is more ambitious and arrogant
than King Henry. Yet he alienates his brothers by his obsession
with the new queen and her family and ends up snubbing them.
This will have its repercussions in the final installment of the
tetralogy, Richard III.
Eleventh son of Richard, Duke of York, and given the title, Duke
of Gloucester. He accompanied his brother into exile but
commanded the vanguard at Barnet and Tewkesbury. He is a
notorious murderer and soldier. He murdered Henry VI and
contrived to have himself proclaimed king in 1483. His nickname
'Crouchback' is derived from a minor deformity he has that
basically provides him the justification to act as immorally as he
does since a medieval view of the soul espoused that one's physical
countenance was a reflection of one's internal self. Richard is hard
and unfeeling. He reacts to his father's death in a vengeful manner.
In his long soliloquy, he expresses his cynical self-centered,
character, ambition and plans.
His ambition to conquer the throne of England is expressed clearly,
and he says that he shall not miss the golden opportunity which he
has been looking for. He says that if he has no kingdom then what
pleasure can this earth afford him. Because of his physical
deformity, he knows that no woman will love him. He gains
everything through force and yet can be very verbally adroit and
full of guile. His view of the world is that the end justifies the
means; therefore, he will do anything to gain control of the crown
as he thinks he is its rightful heir. He is one of the most interesting
characters in this series of plays as his internal machinations are
complex and prone to psychological interpretations. In Richard III,
he takes center stage in his quest for power.
Earl Of Warwick
Richard Neville known as the 'Kingmaker' is the son of the Earl of
Salisbury and succeeded in 1449 to the title and estates of Richard
de Beauchamp whose daughter he had married. He supported York
and distinguished himself in the battle of St. Albans, winning the
battle of Northampton in 1460 and taking Henry prisoner.
Warwick helped to proclaim Edward King and defeat the
Lancastrians at Towton in 1461. Yet he alternately renounced
Edward's decision to marry Lady Grey while he was negotiating a
marriage for him with Bona of France. He withdrew from the court
but returned to be reconciled with Margaret whose young son
Edward was betrothed to his daughter. In 1470, Henry VI was
proclaimed King again, and Warwick was made the protector of
Clarence. In 1471 the 'King Maker' was defeated and killed at
Warwick has shifting alliances between the two families and can
be seen as an ambitious man who wants to be on the winning side.
He will do anything to secure a position of power in the royal
family and his affiliations are only to himself than to either the
Lancastrians or Yorkists. As he is dying, he proclaims that his life
has been worth nothing in the end and that war and power are
futile ambitions when in the end everything returns to dust.
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