Henry VI, Part II



  • The continuation of Shakespeare's story of Henry VI,first produced in 1592 in London. This and Part III are superiorin every way to the first part, and most scholars believe that Shakespearewas their sole author. Part II has 47 characters, more thanany other of Shakespeare's plays.

    The story continues as Henry's wife, Margaret, schemes withher lover Suffolk to discredit the Duchess of Gloucester. Suffolkhas the Duke of Gloucester murdered and is later killed himself, leavingthe way clear for the ambitious Duke of York to pursue his claim tothe throne. Having gained Henry's permission to raise an army to quella rising in Ulster, York incites John Cade to start a peasant'srevolt at home. Cade is at first successful, but his followers desert himand he is eventually killed. York refuses to disband his army untilSomerset of the house of Lancaster is arrested; when Somerset is subsequentlyfreed the two sides meet at St Albans in the first battle of the Warsof the Roses. York and his allies Warwick and Salisbury are triumphant,and the king and queen flee to London with the victors in pursuit.