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The scene is very important because it exposes the true natures of
Edward and Richard, the sons of the Duke. Their reactions to the
death of their father are clearly portrayed here. Ignorant of their
father's fate, Richard praises York's chivalry and compares his
father to a lion and bear. These animal metaphors serves to bring
out York's perception as a singular fighter. When both sons see an
image of three suns in the sky, their varying interpretations
disclose their ambitions. Richard's interpretation of seeing three
suns shining and then merging together in the clear sky reveals that
he sees one person emerging from three, a combination of the three
sons of York whereas Edward sees the suns as being representative
of the the three sons working in tandem with each other. Richard's
comment that they may signify Edward's prodigy who will be
daughters, he is referring to Edward's philandering conduct that
will come to be a point of contention between the two brothers.
The reactions of the brothers to the news of their father's death is
also telling. Edward reacts with tears and stormy passion, a typical
response whereas Richard's response is angered and vindictive.
'To weep is to make less the depth of grief:
Tears then for babies; blows and revenge for me
'Richard, I bear thy name; I'll venge thy death,
Or die renowned by attempting it.'
The generous tenderness of Edward compared to the savage
fortitude of Richard is well distinguished.
Another point of contention is Edward's new title, which agitates
his brother who is ambitious enough to want it for himself. When
Edward tells Richard, 'His name that valiant duke hath left with
thee, His dukedom and his chair with me is left,' he is asserting his
authority yet Richard undermines this by saying, 'Nay, if thou be
that princely eagle's bird, Show thy descent by gazing against the
sun,' meaning that Edward must go all the way and become king.
Richard's forceful presence reveals itself in the exchange between
the brothers and Warwick about the recent battles fought against
the Queen's army. Nothing Warwick says about the lack of morale
in the army can persuade Richard to retreat from battle. His single-
mindedness even persuades Warwick that they can defeat the
Queen's army and take over the throne for once and for all.
Towards the end of the scene, Warwick proclaims that Edward is
the future King of England and any one who dares question it or
express their displeasure shall be beheaded. This gives the
audience a clue to what is going to happen in the coming scenes.
In this scene, Richard is shown to be a natural leader, albeit
somewhat obsessive. Whereas his brother is willing to be cautious
and listen to his elders such as Warwick, Richard takes command
and ends up persuading Warwick that they must defeat the Queen
and rightly take over the crown.
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