Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

Summary Act 2

Scene 1

Act II Scene 1 takes place in the King's Palace. The scene begins with a loud flourish of trumpets. The King attended by servants, a couple of young lords preparing to go to war and Bertram and Parolles. The King tells the young lords goodbye and wishes them well in the war then exits the scene. After the King departs Bertram and the others have a brief discussion about the fact that the King has commanded Betram to stay behind and not go to war. Bertram and Parolles bid the young lords good luck and they leave. Shortly after the King returns. Bertram and Parolles then begin to walk away with Parolles telling Bertram he needs to learn to be friendlier.

After Bertram and Parolles exit from the scene Lafeu enters and kneels. After being told to stand Lafeu asks the King to meet with Helen. The King grants Helen an audience. Lafeu exits then returns shortly with Helen. Lafeu introduces Helen and then exits again. The King asks Helen why she wants an audience and she explains that she believes she might have a cure for the Kings illness. The King refuses at first. However, Helen eventually persuades him to give her cure a try by offering her life if it brings the King harm. In return the King promises that if the cure does work he will allow her to marry Bertram.

Scene 2

Scene 2 takes place in Rousillion where the Countess and her Clown are speaking. The conversation is about the Clown apperain in the Kings court. This scene is very short and meant to be used as comic relief as well as a bridge to the next scene.

Scene 3

Scene 3 takes place back at the Kings Palace. It begins with Parolles, Bertram, and Lafeu speaking to one another about the healing of the king. Many times they claim that it is the direct hand of god. The King enters with Helen and some attendants. At this point it is revealed that Helen cured the King of his illness. In turn the King announces that he will grant Helen the hand of any noble man present. After much discussion with the various nobles, Helen chooses Bertram.

Bertram immediately protests the marriage. The King responds by telling Bertram that he must marry Helen or it will cause the King dishonor. Eventually Bertram agrees to the marriage and everyone but Lafeu and Parolles leave. Lafeu and Parolles have a brief conversation and then Lafeu leaves. Bertram reenters the scene. Bertram reveals that he has been married to Helen but will not stay and instead will run away to the war. Parolles agrees with the plan and the two exit the scene.

Scene 4

Scene 4 takes place in the King's Palace. Helena and the Clown are speaking about the health of the Countess who though physically healthy, is emotionally unwell. The reason the Countess is feeling sad is she wishes she could join her husband in heaven. As Helen and the Clown are speaking Parolles enters the scene and the clown makes fun of him. This shows that even one of such low stature as the clown sees that Parolles is not a good man. Parolles then tells Helen that Bertram must leave that night and will be unable to consumate their marriage. He then tells Helen that Bertram wishes for her to leave the Palace. Helen says she will obey her husbands wishes.

Scene 5

Scene 5 takes place at the King's Palace and begins with Lafeu and Bertram entering the scene. Lafeu is trying to convince Bertram that Parolles is not a good man. Bertram insists that he is and then Parolles enters the scene. Parolles tells Bertram that he has spoke to Helen and that she has agreed to leave the palace. After a brief conversation Lafeu insults Parolles and then exists the scene.

Once Lafeu has left the scene Bertram and Parolles speak. Bertram tells his friend that he has a letter for his mother. Helen enters and Bertram tells her that he must attend to the King's business but that he will meet her home two days later. Helen asks Bertram for a kiss but he refuses. Once Helena leaves the scene Bertram and Parolles state their intention to go to war and not home.

William Shakespeare