Henry VI, Part 2 | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Henry VI, Part 2 | Act 5, Scene 3 | Summary

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Summary

The Yorkists have won the Battle of Saint Albans and are now regrouping after the fight. First onstage are York, his son Richard, and the Earl of Warwick. York and son praise Salisbury, the "winter lion" who has fought so well despite his advanced age. Fearing that he may have been killed, they are relieved when Salisbury joins them, apparently none the worse for wear. The four congratulate each other on a battle well fought. York announces that King Henry and his faction have fled toward London, but Warwick vows to pursue them.

Analysis

Part 1 ended with civil war on the horizon; Part 2 ends with the war barely begun. Part 3, as might be guessed, will be centrally preoccupied with the Wars of the Roses, whose first battle took place in this act. Now that they have repelled the king's army at Saint Albans, York, Warwick, and company will waste no time in moving on his headquarters at London: the opening scene of Part 3 will show the Yorkists seizing control of Westminster Hall. In the current scene as in the previous one, the recently introduced Richard gets a large share of stage time, setting readers and audiences up for his increased importance in Part 3 of the trilogy.

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