Alas, poor York…

With the relatively slow exposition of the last two plays, I was not expecting Part Three to start off with such a bang. The action begins pretty much where Part Two left off, with York & Co. pursuing Henry to Parliament, where they make a really bad deal with one another. They agree to lay down arms and let Henry remain king until his natural death, when York will ascend the throne. This is no good for anybody, so we shouldn’t be surprised that things went awry immediately. In the previous plays, Henry has been very religious and perhaps a bit naïve, but now he just seems weak and deserving of the spite heaped upon him by nearly everyone. He essentially disinherited his own son because he couldn’t stand up to big bad York. Obviously, Queen Margaret is not happy with the deal. Even on York’s side, there is grumbling. Though clearly getting the better end of the stick, York’s sons are able to talk him into breaking his oath and taking the crown by force. So, battle it is.

When we see York’s sons convince him to break faith with Henry, the real guiding force egging York on is his son Richard. Later, Margaret refers to him being a “crookback prodigy”, foreshadowing the time when Richard becomes the Third. In fact, that’s the very next play we’ll be tackling, so I guess it’s kind of nice to stay within the same overarching story.

After lots of fighting, Clifford murders York’s young son Edmund in a show of utter brutality. In fact, Clifford goes on to brag to anyone who will listen about how he murdered a child and his thirst for revenge is still not slaked. Then, York is finally driven back to make a final stand against Margaret and Clifford. They both stab him (à la Caesar and the Senate) and Margaret orders York’s head be struck off and mounted to the gates, “so York may overlook the town of York”. I mean, that’s straight up coldblooded. Something tells me the guy’s family is going to want revenge on the house of Lancaster now.

This play is off to a vicious start and I cannot wait to see where it’s going.

Published by Alex H.

Reader, writer, editor, dum-dum.

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