Gloucester’s fall

I have to admit that I love when a good character is taken down in a story. My favorite part of The Count of Monte Cristo is the first bit when Edmund Dantes’ life is turned into an absolute shambles and he goes to rot in prison. The revenge tale after is fun, but I just get a sense of glee from seeing a good person brought low. Oh, and extra points if the character doesn’t even understand why this is happening to them. I don’t know what this says about me… Wait, I take that back. I know exactly what this says about me.

Act II is hard on our good friend, Protector of the Realm, the Duke of Gloucester. It starts with all of the noblemen and -women dogpiling on him, urging him to give up his office. They each have their own plan to wrest power away from him, knowing that the king is not a very formidable obstacle to them. Then York admits to his friends Warwick and Salisbury that he has aspirations to the throne and outlines his case for why he is the true king. He tells his buddies not to move now, but rather let all of his potential rivals use their energy on poor Gloucester and then he will swoop in and claim the throne before the dust settles.

Next, Eleanor, Gloucester’s wife, is sentenced to exile. This shame breaks Gloucester’s heart, but he is utterly humiliated when the king asks him to retire as Protector of the Realm. Gloucester agrees and leaves to watch his “tender Nell” banished to the Isle of Man. The best part of this scene is when Eleanor warns Gloucester that there are enemies all around him and he tells her they can’t touch him because he has truth on his side. Poor, poor naif. I can’t help but take joy in his suffering. He is surrounded by sharks but he believes his very goodness protects him. Surely he won’t survive this play.

There was a duel in this act between Peter, the guy who accused his master of treason, and Horner, the accused. It seemed a foregone conclusion that Peter would lose, he seemed unprepared and scared to fight Horner. He showed up to the duel scared out of his mind, while Horner was already celebrating and was quite drunk. They fought and, to everyone’s surprise, Peter struck Horner down, who subsequently admitted his treason. That treason being calling York the true king. York denounced the dead man, but he is clearly building a coalition to take down the Lancaster family (of which Henry is a part). York emerging as a villain is quite satisfying for me. I am having a great time watching these bad people behaving badly and the good guys getting crushed in the process.

Published by Alex H.

Reader, writer, editor, dum-dum.

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