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Henry VI, part 2

King Henry VI Part II is the second of the "Wars of the Roses" cycle by William Shakespeare, and picks up the action from where Shakespeare left off in Henry VI, part 1.

Warning: wikipedia contains spoilers

It begins with the marriage of King Henry VI of England to the young Margaret of Anjou. Margaret is the protégée of the Earl of Suffolk, who aims to influence the king through her, thus winning the enmity of Duke Humphrey (Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester). Gloucester is deposed from his position as regent, and Richard, Duke of York comes to the fore, along with the Earl of Warwick. Queen Margaret also sets herself against Gloucester and vies with his wife, Eleanor, for precedence at court. Eleanor is found dabbling in witchcraft, and is disowned by her husband.

The Duke of York, egged on by Warwick and others, decides to press his claim to the throne. The Earl of Suffolk is killed by pirates, leaving Margaret without her mainstay. Meanwhile, the rebellion of Jack Cade[?] threatens the whole kingdom, and the action is diverted to follow the course of the rebellion. As the rebels are routed, York declares open war on the king, and is supported by his sons, Edward (King Edward IV of England) and Richard (King Richard III of England). Shakespeare is building up to making Richard III one of his greatest villains, with little concern for historical veracity -- Richard, at this date, would have been a small child.

The nobles now take sides, and the Battle of St. Albans is fought. The Duke of Somerset is killed by the future Richard III (who in reality was not present at this battle). Young Lord Clifford, whose father has been killed by the Duke of York, vows revenge on the Yorkists, and allies himself with King Henry's other supporters. As with Henry VI Part I, the action is left quite open, with the clear intention of continuing the story in Henry VI, part 3.


  • King Henry VI
  • Duke of Gloucester, his uncle (Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester)
  • Cardinal Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, great-uncle to the King (Henry Cardinal Beaufort)
  • Duke of York (Richard, Duke of York)
  • Edward, his son (future Edward IV)
  • Richard, also son to the Duke of York (future Richard III)
  • Duke of Somerset
  • Duke of Suffolk (William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk)
  • Duke of Buckingham (Humphrey Stafford, 1st Duke of Buckingham)
  • Lord Clifford
  • Young Clifford, his son
  • Earl of Salisbury
  • Earl of Warwick
  • Lord Scales
  • Lord Say
  • Sir Humphrey Stafford
  • William Stafford, his brother
  • Sir John Stanley
  • Vaux
  • Matthew Goffe
  • Alexander Iden, a Kentish Gentleman
  • Lieutenant, Shipmates, Master's Mate, and Walter Whitmore
  • Two Gentlemen, prisoners with Suffolk
  • John Hume and John Southwell, priests
  • Roger Bolingbrook, a conjurer
  • Thomas Horner, an armorer
  • Peter Thump, his apprentice
  • Clerk of Chartam
  • Mayor of Saint Albans
  • Simcox, an impostor
  • Jack Cade[?], a rebel
  • George Bevis, John Holland, Dick the butcher, Smith the Weaver, Michael, etc., followers of Jack Cade
  • two murderers

  • Margaret, Queen to King Henry (Margaret of Anjou)
  • Duchess of Gloucester (Eleanor Cobham)
  • Margery Jordan, a witch
  • Wife to Simcox

  • Spirit

  • Lords, Ladies, attendants, heralds, soldiers, etc.

External Link

  • Henry VI, part 2 (http://www.shakespeare-literature.com/Henry_VI,_part_2/index) - searchable, indexed e-text

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

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