Henry VI, Part 2 "Thrice Is He Armed That Hath His Quarrel Just"
by William Shakespeare

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"Thrice Is He Armed That Hath His Quarrel Just"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: The Duke of Suffolk, who has had Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, in his keeping, has ordered two murderers to kill Humphrey. The Earl of Warwick has reported that the "commons," wanting their leader, Humphrey, are ready to revolt. Humphrey is slain. King Henry is almost maddened by this unjust homicide. Warwick accuses Suffolk of the murder. These two step outside to fight. Henry believes that victory will come to the innocent one–a belief underlying the Medieval and Renaissance practice of trial by combat, and with us today in our conviction that God aids the innocent.


HENRY
What stronger breastplate than a heart untainted!
Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel just;
And he but naked, though locked up in steel,
Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.