Anna Bolena: plot summary


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Anna Bolena plot summary

Anna Bolena
Plot Summary

Act Two

Act Two, Scene One, takes place in London in an antechamber leading into the rooms where Anna is held prisoner. Guards stand at the door. They note that even Giovanna Seymour has stayed away from Anna. Anna enters with a chorus of ladies, who tell her to place her trust in heaven. Hervey enters and says that the Council of Peers has summoned the ladies into its presence. The ladies leave with Hervey. Giovanna enters, and says that Anna can avoid being put to death by admitting guilt. Anna says that she will not buy her life with infamy. She expresses the hope that her successor will wear a crown of thorns. Giovanna admits that she is to be the successor. Anna tells her to leave, but says that Enrico alone is the guilty one. Giovanna leaves, deeply upset.

Act Two, Scene Two, takes place in the antechamber leading into the hall where the Council of Peers is meeting. Hervey tells courtiers that Anna is lost, because Smeton has talked and has revealed a crime. Enrico enters. Hervey says that Smeton has fallen into the trap. Enrico tells Hervey to continue to let Smeton believe that he has saved Anna's life.

Anna and Percy are brought in, separately. Enrico says that Anna has made love to the page Smeton, and that there are witnesses. He says that both Anna and Percy will die. Percy says that it is written in heaven that he and Anna are married. They are led away by guards.

Giovanna enters. She says that she does not want to be the cause of Anna's death. Enrico says that she will not save Anna by leaving. Hervey enters and says that the Council has dissolved the royal marriage and has condemned Anna and her accomplices to death. Courtiers and Giovanna ask the king to be merciful. He tells them to leave.

Act Two, Scene Three, takes place at the Tower of London. Percy and Rochefort are together in their cell. Hervey enters and says that the king has pardoned them. They ask about Anna. Hearing that she is to be executed, they choose to be executed also. They leave, surrounded by guards.

In Anna's cell, a chorus of ladies comment on her madness and grief. Anna enters and asks them "Are you weeping?", "Piangete voi?" She imagines that it is her wedding day to the king. Then she imagines that she sees Percy, and she asks him to take her back to her childhood home. ("Al dolce guidami castel natio . . .") Percy, Rochefort, and Smeton are brought in. Smeton throws himself at Anna's feet, and says that he accused her in the belief that he was saving her life. In delirium, Anna asks him why he is not playing his lute. The sound of cannon is heard. Anna comes to her senses. She is told that Giovanna and Enrico are being acclaimed by the populace on their wedding day. Anna says that she does not invoke vengeance on the wicked couple. She faints. Guards enter to lead the prisoners to the block. Smeton, Percy and Rochefort say that one victim has already been sacrificed.

Copyright 2002 John R. Pierce. All rights reserved.

To summary of Act One

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