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Henry VI, Part 3 Characters

The Earl of Warwick, first of the Yorkist and then of the Lancastrian party, is the Duke of York’s great supporter and friend, and later the chief power behind the throne to King Edward, then the instrument of his dethroning. 

He is somewhat full of himself and his ability to gift the crown to whomsoever he pleases, but this arrogance is based on the fact that this ability is genuine. He is a fighter and strongly believes that the might of arms is proof of justice. He is appointed guardian of King Henry after the Yorkists take power at the beginning of the play, but when Queen Margaret raises an army he is defeated by her in battle and can only rush to join the York sons and advise them. He becomes the mastermind behind Edward’s rise to the throne, both militarily and politically. He stands on his honor and is a fiery man who hates fleeing from battle and can be deeply vindictive towards those who have wronged him. He joins the York brothers in their mocking of the dying or dead Clifford, and renounces his allegiance to Edward when the latter makes a fool of him and humiliates him in front of the French King. Edward’s doing so, by marrying behind Warwick’s back, is the final straw, and Warwick remembers then that he has good cause to hate the Yorkists as well. His turn to the Lancastrian side comes out of personal hatred and desire for revenge rather than for any higher reason or conviction, though he claims that Edward is not worthy of the crown. He is deeply self-confident, at times over-confident, but this serves him well as it allows him to take great risks, such as capturing King Edward in his tent. Generally uncompromising and authoritarian, he is a much more decisive and dominant man than the Kings he serves. He is aware that he is the strongest prop to any cause he serves, and that his own death will lead to the fall of that cause. He has very black hair.


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