WEFOUNDHenry VI, Parts, I, II, and III (Signet Classics) (Pts. 1-3)


Shakespeare took considerable licence portraying the Wars of the Roses . He plundered his main sources, Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles and Edward Halle’s Union of the Two Noble and Illustrious Families of Lancaster and York for colourful detail, but didn’t hesitate to change events. The scene in Part I in which the rival factions pluck red and white roses is fictionalised, characters’ ages and motivations are tweaked, historical incidents are conflated or compressed; and though King Henry VI is depicted as a weak-willed martyr whose innocence loses France and the crown – several times – reality is shadier.

Shakespeare, perhaps collaborating with others, doesn’t always avoid the tub-thumping style of earlier chronicle plays, or their pro-Tudor historiography. The power-hungry Duke of York, father of the future Richard III, has some really lumbering lines (“My brain, more busy than the labouring spider, / Weaves tedious snares to trap mine enemies”). Equally, the melodramatic Battle of Towton scene in Part III in which a son discovers he’s killed his father, and a father his son, tries both patience and credulity. The Beyond the Fringe send-up (“O saucy Worcester, dost thou lie so still?”) is not a million miles from reality.

Margaret , a proto-Lady Macbeth, armour-plated but driven by inner torment; Joan la Pucelle in Part I , Shakespeare’s Joan of Arc , a messianic firebrand who makes the men around her look spineless: the silky Suffolk, who conducts an affair with Queen Margaret in full view of her husband; Gloucester, well meaning but undone by machinations at court; Jack Cade, the Farage -like leader of a Kentish rebellion in Part II who promises free beer for all and the torching of schools.

Shakespeare took considerable licence portraying the Wars of the Roses . He plundered his main sources, Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles and Edward Halle’s Union of the Two Noble and Illustrious Families of Lancaster and York for colourful detail, but didn’t hesitate to change events. The scene in Part I in which the rival factions pluck red and white roses is fictionalised, characters’ ages and motivations are tweaked, historical incidents are conflated or compressed; and though King Henry VI is depicted as a weak-willed martyr whose innocence loses France and the crown – several times – reality is shadier.

Shakespeare, perhaps collaborating with others, doesn’t always avoid the tub-thumping style of earlier chronicle plays, or their pro-Tudor historiography. The power-hungry Duke of York, father of the future Richard III, has some really lumbering lines (“My brain, more busy than the labouring spider, / Weaves tedious snares to trap mine enemies”). Equally, the melodramatic Battle of Towton scene in Part III in which a son discovers he’s killed his father, and a father his son, tries both patience and credulity. The Beyond the Fringe send-up (“O saucy Worcester, dost thou lie so still?”) is not a million miles from reality.

Margaret , a proto-Lady Macbeth, armour-plated but driven by inner torment; Joan la Pucelle in Part I , Shakespeare’s Joan of Arc , a messianic firebrand who makes the men around her look spineless: the silky Suffolk, who conducts an affair with Queen Margaret in full view of her husband; Gloucester, well meaning but undone by machinations at court; Jack Cade, the Farage -like leader of a Kentish rebellion in Part II who promises free beer for all and the torching of schools.

There is an issue between Cloudflare's cache and your origin web server. Cloudflare monitors for these errors and automatically investigates the cause. To help support the investigation, you can pull the corresponding error log from your web server and submit it our support team. Please include the Ray ID (which is at the bottom of this error page). Additional troubleshooting resources .

Cloudflare Ray ID: 3e51869265af8fe1 • Your IP : 62.109.12.231 • Performance & security by Cloudflare


5133132BS0L