Henry VI, Part Three
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Henry VI, Part Three (Wars of the Roses #7)

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  1,481 ratings  ·  95 reviews
A series of outstanding productions by the Royal Shakespeare Company and others have recently demonstrated the theatrical vitality of Shakespeare's plays about the reign of Henry VI. In the Third Part Shakespeare extends his essay on monarchical politics by contrasting two kings, the good but ineffective Henry VI with his rival, the sensual and victorious Edward IV. He als...more
Paperback, 302 pages
Published December 17th 1981 by Penguin Books (first published 1623)
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Bill  Kerwin

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, Shakespeare's first great character--Richard of Gloucester (later Richard III)--has fully emerged, giving us a clear promise of the great wor...more
Terence
What follows are the collective observations of the entire trilogy:

1 Henry VI -- 2.5 to 3 stars
2 Henry VI -- 3+ stars
3 Henry VI -- 4 stars

I don't have much to say about part 1 of Shakespeare's Henry VI. It's not a bad play; it's just not the Bard at his best. It has its moments but the impression I carry away from it is that Shakespeare either didn't care all that much about the project or he never found the time to polish it. (Interestingly, it was written several years after parts 2 and 3.)

Par...more
Olivia
My favorite so far in this tetralogy. I found the vigorous seesaw of victories and defeats very compelling, as Henry dwindles to a mild nonentity, Richard of Gloucester hacks his way out of a metaphorical wood and into the spotlight, and many children are butchered along the way. I didn't expect to be so disturbed by the murdered children - in King John I found poor Arthur's death unexpectedly hilarious! - but both scenes, Rutland slaughtered in front of his pleading tudor and Edward tag-team-st...more
Bruce
This play, also sometimes titled “Richard Duke of York” or “The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York and the Good King Henry the Sixth,” continues the story of the factions of York and Lancaster during the Wars of the Roses in England in the 15th century. As in the previous play in the series, “2 Henry VI,” King Henry continues to demonstrate a feebleness and lack of resolve that contributes to the encouragement of the kingly aspirations of Richard, who claims the right to the crown on the basis...more
Manny
Henry VI's! They're like buses. You wait for ages, and then three come by at once.
Ben
Full well hath Clifford play'd the orator,
Inferring arguments of mighty force.
But, Clifford, tell me, didst though never hear
That things ill got had ever bad success?
And happy always was it for that son
Whose father for his hoarding went to hell?
I'll leave my son my virtuous deeds behind;
And would my father had left me no more!
For all the rest is held at such a rate
As brings a thousand-fold more care to keep
Than in possession any jot of pleasure.


With these words, Henry defies those who accuse him...more
Trevor
The last of the Henry VI plays in the very long sequence of histories around the war of the roses. It is surprising how few of these eight plays actually are about the king they are named after. I mean, neither of the Henry IV plays are really about him, the play with him as a major character is really Richard II. This play is about chaos more than anything else – nothing is stable, it is hard to know who is on which side. The expression, damned if you do and damned if you don’t came to mind rep...more
Anna  Matsuyama
Apr 08, 2013 Anna Matsuyama marked it as to-read-ebook  ·  review of another edition
Andrew Scott's brilliant reciting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PkuF0...

I have no brother, I am like no brother,
And this word ‘love’, which greybeards call divine,
Be resident in men like one another,
And not in me! I am myself alone

For I have often heard my mother say
I came into the world with my legs forward.
The midwife wonder'd; and the women cried
'O, Jesus bless us, he is born with teeth!'

And so I was, which plainly signified
That I should snarl and bite and play the dog.
Then, since...more
James
I'd hoped to finish the Shakespeare Histories Reading Project in time for the big (450) birthday tomorrow, but I'm not quite gonna make it. Finishing H6-3 got me most of the way, though. Due to anxiety, I've been a little flippant in my reviews of this trilogy, focusing on the swordfights and severed heads. While this installment did not fail to deliver in terms of mayhem, I don't feel as much like making cheap jokes. I found it unexpectedly moving in a number of ways. The Duke of York's death s...more
Salvatore
Two kings. Two (potential) wives for one king (a little Mormonesque, Edward IV?). So many children dying at the hands of adults. So much anguish from the professor-king Henry, who relinquishes his throne and birthright way too easily. So much flipflopping from characters on allegiances: true, it would be hard to determine whether a red or white rose is preferable on one's suit of armour or suit lapel, but six lines of poetry shouldn't sway you one way or the other. Also, I don't know how much I...more
Candy
I think what is most interestying with these three plays within a trilogy...are the villains. I also see foreshadowing of Shakespeare's later villains and plots and themes. but overall...they seemed jumbled...but don't get me wrong..I enjoyed reading them.

This third part is fascinating because already we are introduced to Richard III who is a sick sick puppy.
Eyehavenofilter
Queen Margaret and Richard N. the power couple of the era, rule with unbelievable power. This woman is a force of nature, and Shakespeare's most amazing female lead character. She is strong, willful, yet intelligent enough to rule a nation expertly, with the "Kingmaker" at her side, at a desperate time, a hell of a play.
Martyn
This play is not just a perfect example of stagecraft and it's not just packed with soliloquies of the highest caliber, it's also a damn good read. Richard, who creeps across the Henry VI plays, slowly growing into the character that we know and love from Richard III suddenly and stunningly flowers in this play into the artful, magnetic and eloquent (is he Shakespeare's most eloquent character? Maybe after Hamlet) figure that we recognize fully.

His soliloquy at Act III.2 line 124 is spine tingl...more
Mary
This is easily my favorite of the three Henry VI works. I find myself wishing that I was more familiar with the English history surrounding these plays, as I read them. I think they would mean more to someone who is. I can't help but wish that Shakespeare was around to write about the drama in today's politics. There would be less beheadings and swordplay, but plenty of political intrigue to make something of! I would love to see what he made of it all!

One last note, I think that for an actress,...more
Ben
Henry's soliloquy was fantastic. I don't have any knowledge of the War of the Roses nor the history of the houses in this play, but I was able to enjoy this play nonetheless and I was extremely happy to finish this series by Shakespeare. I wish I was able to do this work justice, but I'll have to do that on a reread later. I also loved the Greek mythology used in the play to show the civil war as scorched earth and just everything. I hope that with reading more Shakespeare that I'll be able to d...more
Scott Smithson
As I work my way through the plays of William Shakespeare, I find myself understanding more and more why he is considered “William the Great”. One example is the play Henry VI part III. Truly, this is not a commonly known play. In fact, after reading part one, I wondered if I should read them in sequence. Much of the Henry VI trio seems like a never ending litany of sqabbling dukes with similar names. There were a few fun spots, especially with Margaret, but I wasn’t moved. It’s about war and wa...more
Phil
Well I've thoroughly enjoyed the three parts of Henry VI. I think that in some ways this is the weakest of the three (which is possibly an unpopular view to take, but there you go) and more than any other play supports the view of Shakespeare's history plays as "an endless troop of kings" - after all there are three different ones in this play alone (Henry and Edward are even king twice each). But more than anything it shows the disintegration of the country. The three parts show an escalation o...more
David Sarkies
As I read through this play I began to realise how closely connected it is to Richard III, which is not surprising since this play was written shortly after Henry VI. In many ways, much of the action in Richard III, as well as a number of the characters. I remember watching the Ian McKellan version of Richard III and seeing this woman, Margaret, making an appearance and wondering who she was and what her connection to the play was, and after reading this play (as well as the previous two) and a...more
Stephen
Coming off the superior Henry VI, Part II, Henry VI, Part III does not disappoint. If anything, it perfectly follows the rules of any decent sequel: more drama, higher body count, and increasingly shocking twists. The play picks up immediately following the events at the end of Part II with Houses York and Lancaster rising up against one another in order to compete for the right to the throne and all the power that comes with it.

There’s treachery; great battle (both on stage and off); murders (c...more
Rebecca Reid
3 Henry VI is simply violent from the first scene, when Richard Duke of Gloucester enters with the Duke of Somerset’s head and York and Montague compare bloody swords. The play also has lots of betrayal: no one can trust each other, and promises are broken from one scene to the next. “An oath is of no moment,” says Richard Duke of Gloucester in Act 1, scene 2. The leaders themselves are unsure who they want to follow and they frequently change loyalties from one king to the other. It should be n...more
Marty
The King Henry VI plays are chaotically back and forth, an epic struggle between two opposing forces that switch fortunes so frequently that by Part 3, I had to scoff at their unbelievability. Of course, this is one of Shakespeare's histories, and it is actually based on real events in the War of Roses, so my main beef is with the implausible progress of history … not with Shakespeare's plotting.

So, the great strength to the Henry VI plays is that they are intensely interesting. One magnificent...more
Jack
Readers who slog through the chaos of "1 Henry VI" and "2 Henry VI" will begin to find their patience rewarded in Part 3, which anticipates the enduring success of "Richard III." The play continues to detail the civil war begun in its predecessor, as Richard, Duke of York, asserts his claim to Henry's throne. But Richard is killed relatively early in the play, by Henry's ferocious wife Margaret, leaving his three cheerfully corrupt sons - Edward, George, and the hunchbacked Richard, Duke of Glou...more
Libby
As a person who studied theatre, I have always been slightly embarrassed that there was an entire subset of Shakespearean plays that I had either never read or retained poorly: the English histories. Please accept this selection of reviews as my way of ensuring that none of you will be similarly lacking.

The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York and Good King Henry the Sixth
AKA
The Third Part of Henry the Sixth (Richard = 3 Henry VI = written second)

York: That was awfully sneaky of Henry to sneak o...more
Ben
For me, this was the best of the three Henry VI plays, perhaps because I have long loved Shakespeare's "Richard III," but have never read this work, which really leads us into the events that transpire in Richard III. The latter is generally considered the fourth play in this tetralogy. Really, starting with Richard II and running through Richard III (in between are Henry IV 1 and 2, Henry V, Henry VI 1-3), there is an entire long and bloody history that is laid out. As Charlie Chaplin says in h...more
Max
Characters finally start developing personalities in 3 Henry VI. The basically exiled King, useless even on the battle-field, where his wife and son defend their claim to the throne, wanders through the countryside musing on the lives of kings and shepherds. He washes his hands of the feud, but the problem is exactly that: he was the King, and he did nothing, and now succumbs to guilt. It's Tragic. There's also some lovely brutal business early in the play, dealing with the death of York. If thi...more
Keish
The last part of the Henry VI centered around revenges the sons of usurped of the usurped (it's almost too comical) royal seats of glory England. The actions and events are "painfully" indecisive and the carnages are pointless as it elongates the violence. The scenes are awfully familiar and repetitive of the mistakes each usurped crowns make upon the over-exaggerated family quarrel. The voice of the (common) people are almost non-existent, but viewed as victims of these events. The recurrent sy...more
Nicholas Whyte
http://nhw.livejournal.com/1088481.htm[return][return]This is the least-owned individual Shakespeare play among LibraryThing users, which is a bit surprising since it is the best of the three parts of Henry VI, and is surely important background for Richard III (which comes next).[return][return]The title character gets a lot more prominence here than in the previous parts - where Part 1 was Talbot's story, and Part 2 York's, this is much more Henry's. He gets by far the best scene almost to him...more
Sara
Well, it's not as good as Part 2, but it's certainly head and shoulders above Part 1. In this history, we see the final chapters of the War of the Roses, with the Lancasters, lead by an inept and overpious King Henry and Lady Macbeth-prototype Queen Margaret finally falling to the House of York, lead by Edward, Richard (soon to become Richard III), and Clarence. The first three acts of the play are boring (that's right, I can say Shakespeare is boring at times) because they follow Warwick, the l...more
Scott
There are two main types of war drama: those that frame their story as an epic conflict of good vs. evil (Henry V and Henry VI, Part I are two examples); and those in which the combination of violence, loss, and moral ambiguity promote a theme of "war is hell." This play falls into the latter category, with both sides of the conflict committing various atrocities and betrayals, and heroism largely absent.

Plenty of good lines and monologues to be found, making this one of the most eloquent of Sha...more
Steven
Excerpt from blog review:
I’m happy to say, stylistically, the play returns to form. The jarring use of prose in the second part of the series really muddied the flow of the play. I understand why it was important to confront the battles between the nobility and the common folk, I do, but I’m glad that was done and dealt with, without carrying into the third part. At least for me, the details of the backstabbing of the royalty is a lot more fun and revealing to me than belaboring the idea of clas...more
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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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“Why, I can smile and murder whiles I smile,
And cry 'content' to that which grieves my heart,
And wet my cheeks with artificial tears,
And frame my face for all occasions”
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