William Shakespeare's King Henry VI, part I in the complete original text.
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Second Part of King Henry the Sixth

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King Henry VI, Part II Play

King Henry VI, Part Two, continues the story of King Henry VI's troubled reign. Having been introduced to Margaret of Anjou, Henry, the King decides to reward Suffolk by making the earl a Duke. Gloucester is far from happy about this, complaining that Margaret has no dowry and that Henry gave back Anjou and Maine to France unnecessarily,fearing young Henry is overturning all the good his father did in conquering France. Winchester (a rival to Gloucester) of course, naturally disagrees. Buckingham, Somerset and the Cardinal (Winchester) decide to remove Gloucester's influence on the King. Suffolk, having designs on controlling Henry himself, sees Gloucester's role as protector of the King as an obstacle and puts into motion a plan to discredit Gloucester who may be the only man left who still has Henry's welfare at heart. York (Richard Plantagenet), his son Warwick and Salisbury decide to support King Henry VI.

Gloucester's wife Eleanor known as Nell, has designs on becoming Queen one day, Gloucester discourages this but the Cardinal (Winchester) and Suffolk encourage this to make Gloucester vulnerable. Even Queen Margaret is aware of Nell's ambition. York and Buckingham catch Gloucester's wife Nell engaging in witchcraft (remember in Henry VI, Part One, Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake for this). Gloucester challenges the Cardinal to a duel at St Albans. Gloucester, learning of his wife's witchcraft, disowns her. Even worse, thanks to the late Edmund Mortimer's words in the Tower of London, The Duke of York (Richard Plantagenet) becomes ever more convinced that he should be King through the House of York (Henry is King through the House of Lancaster), gaining Warwick's and Salisbury's support..

Gloucester manages to get off the charges placed against him by his enemies, but King Henry still decrees that Gloucester face trial. France is lost, King Henry running off in despair whilst Gloucester now in prison, darkly predicts King Henry's downfall... Meanwhile, the Irish revolt... The Cardinal sends the Duke of York to quell this, meeting Jack Cade, a henchman whom he enlists to raise an Irish army. Richard hopes this will allows him to defeat Henry and become King of England once he returns from quelling the Irish rebellion. Back in England, Gloucester is killed in his sleep, King Henry banishing the blamed Suffolk under intense public pressure. Even Queen Margaret tries to overturn this; she is secretly having an affair with Suffolk... The Cardinal passes away. Suffolk, however does not live long; whilst heading for France, pirates kill him for making King Henry a joke, murdering Gloucester and losing Anjou and Maine.

Meanwhile, back in Ireland, Cade having raised an army, decides to be King, marching on London. King Henry retreats. The rebellion ends when Buckingham and Clifford, facing Cade with their own army, cunningly offer the rebels pardons should they desert Cade. Cade flees only to beheaded five days later whilst looking for food in a garden... Richard Plantagenet (Duke Of York), now returns home to England intent on capturing Somerset, promising to disband his army only if King Henry arrests Somerset, his bitter rival (King Henry VI, Part One). Whilst King Henry agrees, Margaret sets Somerset free, leaving Richard no choice but to declare his intention to be King and to fight King Henry. In the battle that follows (St Albans), Somerset is killed by Richard III, son of York. York kills Clifford ,Clifford's son vowing revenge. The York faction pursue King Henry and Queen Margaret....


Dramatis Personæ

Act I
Scene I, Scene II, Scene III, Scene IV

Act II
Scene I,
Scene II, Scene III, Scene IV

Scene I, Scene II, Scene III

Act IV
Scene I, Scene II, Scene III, Scene IV, Scene V, Scene VI, Scene VII, Scene VIII, Scene IX, Scene X

Act V
Scene I, Scene II, Scene III

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