Henry VI, Part One, Act 1, Scene 3

In today’s episode of Gloucester and Winchester hate each other, we go to the Tower…

Key Words and Phrases

Conveyance: dishonest practices

Brook: bear or endure

Proditor: traitor

Beard: to set at defiance; or facial hair, depending on context


Gloucester head to the tower because he suspects some shenanigans are afoot. His suspicions are confirmed when we his denied access to the tower. He is very angry at this because he is Protector of the realm, he shouldn’t be denied access to much of anything, especially the armory. He finds out that Winchester has taken control of the Tower. He throws a fit until Winchester emerges.

Winchester accuses Gloucester of trying to usurp the throne. Gloucester calls him all sorts of names and says he will knock his hat off. Winchester basically says “Go ahead, kill me.” Gloucester doesn’t intend to kill Winchester, just push him back. They insult each other for a little longer until eventually they and their men start actually fighting. Gloucester’s men wear blue coats, and Winchester’s men make it red coats.

The Mayor comes in and tries to break up the fight. He declares any violence from this point forward will be considered illegal and the men involved are not to carry weapons. Gloucester refuses to break the law, and so departs. The Mayor is exacerbated by how often these nobles fight each other.

The scene ends with no violence, but this incident lead to so much mob violence that Bedford had to return from France to facilitate a peace.

Discussion Questions and Activities

  1. List your favorite insults from this scene.
  2. Who comes out of this scene looking better, Gloucester, or Winchester? Why?

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