King Henry VI, Part 3 by William Shakespeare
A thoroughly accomplished piece of playcraft and a significant work of literature, this complex account of civil war is filled with broken oaths, betrayals, and labyrinthine patterns of multi-generational revenge, and Shakespeare gives us a coherent thread of narrative to guide us through the bewildering crowd of incidents.
Also, by the middle of the play, Shakespeares first great character--Richard of Gloucester (later Richard III)--has fully emerged, giving us a clear promise of the great work which is to come.
Henry VI, Part 3 Characters
YORK While we pursued the horsemen of the north, He slily stole away and left his men: Whereat the great Lord of Northumberland, Whose warlike ears could never brook retreat, Cheer'd up the drooping army; and himself, Lord Clifford and Lord Stafford, all abreast, Charged our main battle's front, and breaking in Were by the swords of common soldiers slain. Enter YORK. Ah, tutor, look where bloody Clifford comes! My sons, God knows what hath bechanced them: But this I know, they have demean'd themselves Like men born to renown by life or death. Three times did Richard make a lane to me.
Read more Though he despises the Duke of York, he ends up moved by his suffering. He stays loyal after York breaks his oath and after his death, joining Edward. Henry, Earl of Richmond [mute role] is a young boy in whom King Henry sees great promise. The Mayor of York is a peace-loving old man who does not wish to disturb matters. The Lieutenant of the Tower is charged with caring for King Henry when he is imprisoned, and treats the royal captive well. The Second Yorkist Messenger witnesses the capture and torment of the Duke of York, and runs to tell the York brothers that their father's head is on top of the gates of York and their younger brother has been killed.
At first, Richard, Duke of York, is allied with Warwick. Infuriated, Henry's queen, Margaret, raises an army. York breaks his oath to Henry and fights for the crown. Edward, now Edward IV, captures Henry. Warwick breaks with King Edward and joins with Margaret to raise a French army. Richard, now Duke of Gloucester, rescues his brother, King Edward, who returns, captures King Henry, and leads an army against Warwick. When Clarence abandons Warwick, Warwick is defeated and killed.
Henry VI Part 3 Summary
George Lucas wasn't the first one to start a franchise in the middle of things—or in medias res , if you want to get all fancy about it. Some critics think Shakespeare did the same thing: he wrote Henry VI, Parts 2 and 3 first, and after they were such crowd pleasers, he went back and did a Part 1. This tetralogy is all about the Wars of the Roses c. There's a big argument about who deserves the crown more, and it's not decided for sure until the end of the play. There's a lot of fighting in between, of course, to settle the score.
Whereas 1 Henry VI deals with the loss of England's French territories and the political machinations leading up to the Wars of the Roses and 2 Henry VI focuses on the King's inability to quell the bickering of his nobles, and the inevitability of armed conflict, 3 Henry VI deals primarily with the horrors of that conflict, with the once stable nation thrown into chaos and barbarism as families break down and moral codes are subverted in the pursuit of revenge and power. Although the Henry VI trilogy may not have been written in chronological order, the three plays are often grouped together with Richard III to form a tetralogy covering the entire Wars of the Roses saga, from the death of Henry V in to the rise to power of Henry VII in It was the success of this sequence of plays that firmly established Shakespeare's reputation as a playwright. Henry VI, Part 3 features the longest soliloquy in all of Shakespeare 3. Upon reaching the parliamentary chambers in London, York seats himself in the throne, and a confrontation ensues between his supporters and Henry's. Threatened with violence by Warwick, who has brought part of his army with him, the King reaches an agreement with York which will allow him to remain king until his death, at which time the throne will permanently pass to the House of York and its descendants. Disgusted with this decision, which would disinherit the King's son, Prince Edward, the King's supporters, led by his wife, Margaret, abandon him, and Margaret declares war on the Yorkists, supported by Clifford, who is determined to exact revenge for the death of his father at the hands of York during the battle of St Albans.