Henry VI, Part 3 | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Henry VI, Part 3 | Act 2, Scene 4 | Summary

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Summary

Richard and Clifford face off in a sword fight against the backdrop of an ongoing battle. Richard declares his intention of avenging his father and brother; Clifford, mocking his opponent, says that his heart "triumphs in their death." Their duel is interrupted by the arrival of Warwick, who joins Richard in chasing Clifford offstage.

Analysis

In this short scene Clifford and Richard finally meet in single combat. Each is arguably the most ruthless fighter of his respective faction, but up to this point the two men have merely exchanged insults, not blows (see Act 2, Scene 2). Clifford remains single minded in his intention of eradicating the entire House of York. So far he has killed the unarmed and underage Rutland and stabbed the captive Duke of York to death—deeds of which he is evidently proud, since he rehearses them here. Richard nurses a similar loathing for Clifford, whom he sees as a "wolf" preying upon his family.

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