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Henry VI, Part 2 (Wars of the Roses #6)

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  2,957 Ratings  ·  192 Reviews
Henry VI, Part 2 presents a kind of story that was popular before Shakespeare began writing, tracing the fall of powerful individuals to their untimely deaths. The first to go is the Duke of Gloucester, Lord Protector of England and the most powerful man in the kingdom, who is murdered after his wife goes into exile.

Next to meet a bad end is the Duke of Suffolk, the queen’
Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 30th 2008 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1590)
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Barry Pierce
Feb 07, 2016 Barry Pierce rated it liked it
There's a whole act in which some random Irish guy literally invades London, calls himself the mayor, and is then accidentally beheaded in a garden.
Feb 01, 2017 Darwin8u rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
"Burn all the records of the realm. My mouth shall be the Parliament of England."
- Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV.7


So, I liked Part 2 of Henry VI a lot better than Part 1. It still isn't Hamlet, but it is complicated, funny, twisted in parts. One of my favorite aspects of the play are the scenes with Queen Margaret and Suffolk. No. They aren't great people, but they are a great couple. Their parting is amazing and poetic. My other favorite part is, well, anything with Jack Cade/Sir John M
Bill  Kerwin

Not quite as good as Henry VI, Part I--perhaps because by its very nature it possesses no beginning and no end. The first four acts, halfway between the political disputes of the "uncles" and the factional and dynastic struggles of the Wars of the Roses, are necessarily episodic and often seem formless. Shakespeare is learning his craft here, and he often over-relies on lengthy monologues and soliloquys to reveal character and motivation. There are good scenes here, often involving commoners and
This is a very uneven play, unfortunately. The first half attempts, mostly unsuccessfully, to justify and ramp up the enmity between the Lancaster line in Suffolk and the rage of York. It's mostly just scheming and jealousy and the blame game. York wanted to have his blood tied to the King while Suffolk (at least in the play, if not in actual fact, history,) was smitten with Queen Margaret, whom he unwisely pushed off to his king instead of just making her his own, with huge overtones of Lancelo ...more
Sep 02, 2016 Trish rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My goodness, what did I just read?! Will, buddy, no. Just no.

This second part about King Henry VI starts with him getting married to Margaret of Anjou (who, by the way, was penniless but he wanted her nevertheless). In Shakespeare's play, she's the lover of Suffolk (not true but the rumour was spread in order to defame her since the English had a problem with a French queen).

Gloucester is the Lancaster's counterpart in parliament and thus to the queen, but through Suffolk Gloucester's wife is l
David Sarkies
Jul 22, 2012 David Sarkies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History Buffs and Shakespeare lovers
Recommended to David by: I've always wanted to read this
Shelves: historical
The civil war begins
10 August 2012

The reason it took me so long to read this play was because after I read it the first time I felt that I had to go back and read it again to at least do it justice. As we all know Shakespeare is not the easiest author to read and moreso, being a playwright, it is a lot more difficult. Plays are not the easiest forms of literature to read because they are designed to be acted, which is a shame because a lot of plays that I would like to see, which includes Shake
João Fernandes
May 01, 2015 João Fernandes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shakespeare, drama
I've just found out Salvador Dali did illustrations for many Shakespearian plays, and it's blowing my mind. This is his take on Henry VI:
These are not Henry's arms. This is England's coat of arms, while Henry's would also have the coat of arms of France in half the shield. And this describes this entire play's king.
Childish, poorly drawn. Like a feeble shield that receives blow after blow, becoming deformed and weakened.
This is Henry VI. A feeble-minded, kind king who has lost France and whose E
From BBC One:

After the Battle of St Albans, Plantagenet and the Yorkists ride to London to claim the throne. Henry negotiates to keep the crown for his lifetime but agrees to disinherit his son Prince Edward.
Margaret is outraged and attacks Plantagenet at his house, slaughtering the duke and his youngest son Edmund. Elder brothers Edward, George and Richard escape and swear to avenge the murders and destruction of their house.
The Yorkists are victorious at the Battle of Towton and Plantagenet's
Feb 29, 2016 Jaksen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First off, there is so much to this play it's hard to remember it all, but it's a doozey.

There are nobles who hate other nobles, who snipe, bait and target each other. Some end up with their heads cut off for no real discernible reason. A really good guy is strangled in his bed. And the bishop, Winchester, who's okay but not a great guy, he's poisoned. The noble who sold out England and gave back to two huge territories to France, and also brought back Margaret of Anjou, a French princess, for K
Laurel Hicks
I love the Henry VI plays, especially with wacky, wicked Queen Margaret running through them. Poor Henry! I'm very fond of him, the man who would not be king:

Was ever king that joy’d an earthly throne
And could command no more content than I?
No sooner was I crept out of my cradle
But I was made a king, at nine months old.
Was never subject long’d to be a king
As I do long and wish to be a subject.
Jun 21, 2016 Melora rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A step up from Henry VI Pt 1. This has all the rip-roaring action and, unlike Pt 1, this one has some entertaining characters. None of them are lovable or, even, truly memorable, but Margaret's sleazy manipulations of her sweet but dim husband, and Suffolk's lust and outrageous arrogance are pretty funny, and York's crafty ambition makes a nice foil for Henry's placid limpness. Richard is shaping up nicely, and I look forward to seeing more also of Warwick and Young Clifford in Part 3. The play' ...more
Aug 07, 2011 Trevor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: language
As bad a play as Part One is – this is great. This really is one of the best plays in the sequence. It quite literally has everything. Revolt, rebellion, the loss of France, a Lady MacBeth (but playing to a MacBeth that cannot be tempted by vaulting ambition – and then again maybe two Lady MacBeths for good measure), a good kinsman killed by traitors and depriving the King of advice, a good King suddenly under the sway of a group of very bad advisors, a Queen in love with someone other than the ...more
Jun 19, 2009 Olivia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The only things I knew about this play going in were 1) "First thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers!" and going hand in hand with this, 2) it's very, very bloody. As things turn out, as far as bloodiness goes it's not that bad - just a lot of heads on poles and many puns related to heads on poles. The sheer bloody-mindedness of the entire cast becomes a bit wearying after a while, but that's probably the point. I found myself struck by the relationship between Margaret and Henry, such as it i ...more
Dec 05, 2016 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shakespeare's first or second play, depending on whom one believes, and possibly a collaboration with Christopher Marlowe, depending on whom one believes, is given the superb Arden Shakespeare treatment, with essays regarding the text, history, and provenance of the play, as well as the superb notation of words and lines of text for which the Arden series is famous. Henry VI Part II continues the saga of the War of the Roses, with flimsy Henry faced with blatant opposition from the pretender to ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
King Henry VI, Part 2 (Wars of the Roses #6), William Shakespeare
Mar 13, 2013 Ben rated it really liked it
What stronger breastplate than a heart untainted!
Thrice is he arm'd that hath his quarrel just,
And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel,
Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.

In this second part of Henry VI's story, we see the bricks of the English realm begin to fall and crumble into wasted building blocks.

It seems that any bold citizen would dip their hands into the bloody cauldron filled with the jewels of English power. From lowly laborer to noble duke, conspiracy and revolt surroun
May 22, 2010 Bruce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Aptly first named “The First Part of the Contention of the Two Famous Houses of York and Lancaster,” this play chronicles part of the Wars of the Roses in England, the time during which political instability and civil unrest weakened the kingdom which was ineffectively ruled by the hapless Henry VI. Having lost part of his holdings in France that had been won by his father, Henry V, Henry VI gave up more territory as part of the settlement at the time of his marriage to Margaret of Anjou.

It is
Clara Biesel
May 19, 2016 Clara Biesel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got goosebumps rereading it. So much good stuff in this play. If you're reading it for the first time, try and think of each scene as its own little drama. There's lots of stories as a part of the whole, but it all beats as one heart.
Akemi G
May 14, 2016 Akemi G rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-fiction, dramas
This is a crowdpleaser. Witchcraft (even today, people like books/shows on paranormal topics), political machinations (including "reform" movement led by a commoner), forbidden love, pilates, finished with action-filled battle scenes.

Richard (Duke of York) is cunning. Theoretically, he is more qualified to be the king than Henry VI; however, challenging the current king is a treason. He works through this dilemma by patiently building his network (his wife Cecily is the sister of Salisbury, Ric
Perry Whitford
Sep 02, 2014 Perry Whitford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'Ah, gracious lord, these days are dangerous.
Virtue is chok'd with foul ambition'

Duke of Gloucester, Act III, Scene 1

Poor Henry VI! Nobody thinks much of him, most everyone wants his crown. Even his new queen, the beautiful but dowriless Margaret of Anjou laments how 'his mind is bent to holiness' and pines for a real man, someone more like the Duke of Suffolk.

When it comes to kings, nice guys come last. That's pretty much what Henry VI is. A saint amongst sinners. A sheep amongst wolves - an im
Jan 27, 2015 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, shakespeare
"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers," says the butcher in Cade's rebellion, in the most familiar line of this play. The rebellion, erupting in the fourth act, is probably the most surprising and standout aspect: some of Cade's men envision a purge of intellectuals and bureaucrats that would be right at home in the worst corners of the 20th century. Cade believes himself to be king if he can only create enough chaos and destruction. His topsy-turvy aspirations form a contrast to th ...more
Finished it in one sitting.Woo 3 books in 24 hours go me.

Anyway this was brilliant, much much better than Part 1. It was hilarious at some points and I loved the awful humour Shakespeare presented.

But seriously, if I ever had the opportunity to meet Shakespeare I would hold this play up to him and be like "ffs mate" and then cackle because John Cade made this whole play and he was in it for like 7 pages (in my edition).
Again, it was good but not great. I finally figured out that Henry VI is voiced by David Tennant. The voice sounded familiar, but I didn't make the connection until, well now. Again, more or less setting the stage for the overthrow. Just like I forgot about Joan of Arc in the first part, I forgot that Jack Cade was a person and a thing. Really, I think that Shakespeare could have just done one play on Henry VI. Narrowed it down. Spent more time on the widening gap of the Yorks and Lancasters and ...more
Many of Shakespeare's English history plays are unusual in that they are the only plays in Shakespeare's canon that do not end in the restoration of order (another exception is Troilus and Cressida).

Admittedly, they belong to a play cycle that will eventually culminate in the restoration of order. Also many of the plays end with some kind of completion of the events portrayed. Hence Richard II ends with Bolingbroke ascending to the crown that he will hold onto until his death. Henry IV Part 1 en
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rebecca Reid
Jan 03, 2012 Rebecca Reid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: b-fic-pre-1900
Coming off the heels of 1 Henry VI, the next play, 2 Henry VI, struck me as wonderfully written. I hadn’t found much to stand out in 1 Henry VI. But from the beginning, the analogies, the rhythm of the poetry, and the play on words impressed me in the second play. As the action progressed, I could picture the actors and their reactions. I really enjoyed 2 Henry VI, and in fact I read it twice this month just so I’d feel I understood it fully.

1 Henry VI provided the backdrop for the War of the Ro
Yes, there are way too many Dukes in this play, and they are not sufficiently differentiated. Reading this, you get the feeling it's like one of those old "Masterpiece Theatre" miniseries, and you really wish that Alistair Cooke were around to give you some tidy and well-spoken background info. Not to mention the fact that the central character Henry VI probably should never have been king in the first place. Given Queen Elizabeth's political sensitivity in the 1590s, Shakespeare had to be caref ...more
Dec 30, 2014 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, shakespeare
Shakespeare's English history plays portray kings who are heroic, as in Henry V, or weak, as in the Henry VI trilogy or Richard II or just plain bad, as in Richard III. Henry VI, Part 2 is a continuation of the sad reign of the Lancastrian king, who attained the throne at the age of 9 months with the Duke of Gloucester, his uncle, as Lord Protector.

In the beginning, we see Henry's betrothal to Margaret of Anjou. Instead of receiving a dowry, he gives the King of France Maine and Anjou and pays
Jun 26, 2012 Jack rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember this play the least clearly of the "Henry VI" trilogy. It is less memorably tedious than "1 Henry VI," but not as strong as "3 Henry VI," and survives in the memory mostly for its wealth of idiosyncrasies, which are plausibly the result of either Shakespeare's inexperience or his early experimentalism. Like the other "Henry VI" plays (but more so), this reads best as dark comedy. King Henry VI himself, barely present in the preceding play, is the eye of the storm in this one, a ludicr ...more
Samuel Rooke
Feb 19, 2017 Samuel Rooke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A welcome escalation from the more languid “Henry VI, Part 1”, with vastly more at play. “Part 1” lacked anyone as compelling as Jack Cade, Richard of York (the elder), or Queen Margaret, and the issues Shakespeare here raises of the nature of justice, the role of religion in politics, what constitutes weak or strong rule, they’re all explored memorably and with depth. There are also iconic lines like “First thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”.

In all the ways I felt Joan of Arc was underuse
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William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been tr ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Wars of the Roses (8 books)
  • Richard II
  • King Henry IV, Part 1 (Wars of the Roses, #2)
  • Henry IV, Part 2 (Wars of the Roses, #3)
  • Henry V
  • Henry VI, Part 1
  • King Henry VI, Part 3
  • Richard III

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“The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.” 854 likes
“For where thou art, there is the world itself,
With every several pleasure in the world,
And where thou art not, desolation.”
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