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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  ·  1,927 ratings  ·  116 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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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
David Sarkies
Jul 06, 2015 David Sarkies rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History buffs
Recommended to David by: University
Shelves: historical
England in Flames
30 August 2012

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 way, much of the action in Richard III, as well as a number of the characters, stem from this play. I remember watching the Ian McKellan version of Richard III and seeing this woman, Margaret, making an appearance and wondering about her connection to the play. After reading this play (as wel
...more
João Fernandes
Henry: Get off, that's my chair!
York: No, it's my chair
Henry: Okay, you can have it after I'm done playing with it.
Margaret: How dare you give away my... I mean our son's... I mean your throne!?
Henry: I'm just trying to avoid giving more suffering to our people!
Margaret: Wait, peasants have feelings? Uh, the more you know...
_____
Clifford: Your dad killed my dad, so I'm gonna kill you.
Rutland: Mate, I'm just trying to learn some Latin to read that saucy book from The Name of the Rose.
Clifford: Sh
...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
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
Jim
The concluding part of William Shakespeare's Wars of the Roses trilogy ends with Edward IV firmly in charge and with about half the cast of the play dead -- but with Richard Crookback in the wings waiting to make his own grab at the crown, which he will do in Richard III.

Henry VI, Part 3 is full of of "alarums and excursions" as the partisans of York and Lancaster find it out to the bitter end. The play is Shakespeare's lesson as to what happens to the kingdom when the king is weak. And Henry VI
...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
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
Manny
Henry VI's! They're like buses. You wait for ages, and then three come by at once.
Matthew
Shakespeare's first history cycle (the three Henry VI plays and Richard III are somewhat dark works and the darkness seems to grow with every play. There are virtuous characters, but no real moral centre. Certainly not the king himself who is kind and decent, but lacks any fibre or backbone to manage the unruly upstarts that he faces.

Nor are the king's enemies any better. York and his sons may claim a greater right to the throne, but they are corrupted by the means which they use to seize and ho
...more
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
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
Ammar Malas
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
Jeff
This might be the best Shakespeare I have read. I have resolved that when finished the histories I will return to the tragedies, notably Hamlet and Macbeth, and read them again. I believe that as I read more and more of The Bard's writings that I am getting more and more out of each play.

This play, the third part of Henry the Sixth, is incredibly strong and well written.

This Henry is referred to repeatedly as "The Gentle King " and it is an accurate description. Not having the drive of his pre
...more
Jackson Cyril
Henry VI has a reputation of being a weak monarch prone to fits of insanity who was unable to bring the Wars of the Roses under his control. But Shakespeare's Henry is slightly different. Yes he's weak-willed and manipulated by the Queen and his subordinates, but like Louis XVI Henry is a virtuous man who wants to avoid war ( he tries to appease Richard of York by naming him heir), and cares about everyone, even those who imprisoned him. Shakespeare also imbues Henry with prophetic powers and he ...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
Emily
It's all too easy to get behind on my Shakespeare schedule, so I'm lucky that my travel week coincided with a fairly riproaring read by history-play standards. This part probably has the most focused plot of the three Henry VI plays; it's only about the dynastic flipflopping between York and Lancaster--a dramatization that plays very fast and loose with the real chronology, and apparently with the real causes. (Henry is portrayed as a dreamy, religious idealist, but Wikipedia suggests he was ser ...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
David Bates
Five stars for Richard. The villains always make the play.

"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 the heavens have shaped my body so,
Let hell make crook'd my mind to answer it.
I have no brother, I am like no brother;
And this word 'love,' which graybeards call divine,
Be resident in men like one another
And not in me: I am myself alone."

Chills.
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
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
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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 2
  • Richard III
Romeo and Juliet Hamlet Macbeth A Midsummer Night's Dream Othello

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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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“For trust not him that hath once broken faith” 29 likes
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