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Henry VI, Pt. 2 :: Characters

Henry VI, Part 2 Characters

King Henry VI, head of the Lancastrian party, is a young, weak, overly pious monarch with absolutely no political sense, who would much rather be in his study reading than having to rule a country, and relies excessively on his councilors. 

 
 

The Duke of Gloucester is the King’s uncle, the brother of Henry V, and Lord Protector of the realm, the same character as in Henry VI, Part One

 
 

Cardinal Beauford is the same as the Bishop of Winchester of Henry VI, Part One, King Henry’s illegitimate great-uncle, a wily, hypocritical priest who masks his hatred of his nephew Gloucester behind piety. 

 
 

The Duke of York, head of the Yorkist party, is the Richard Plantagenet of Henry VI, Part One, an English nobleman convinced that his claim to the throne is better than King Henry’s. 

 
 

Edward Earl of March, of the Yorkist party, is the Duke of York’s eldest son, leading one portion of York’s army. 

 
 

Richard Plantagenet, of the Yorkist party, is the Duke of York’s third son and the leader of one portion of his army. 

 
 

The Duke of Somerset, of the Lancastrian party, is one of the younger members of the English nobility, who has an ongoing feud with the Duke of York (see Henry VI, Part One) and dislikes the Duke of Gloucester. 

 
 

Duke of Suffolk (William de la Pole), of the Lancastrian party, is an English nobleman who fell passionately in love with Margaret when he met her, and being unable to wed her as he was already married, arranged for her to marry King Henry so he could keep her close (see Henry VI, Part One). 

 
 

The Duke of Buckingham is an English nobleman who dislikes the duke of Gloucester and aims to replace him. 

 
 

Lord Clifford, of the Lancastrian party, is an old nobleman highly loyal to the King. He is sent with Buckingham to convince Cade’s followers to abandon their rebellion, and twice manages to win them over by his speeches. 

 
 

Young Clifford, of the Lancastrian party, is Lord Clifford’s son. He loves his father dearly and follows his lead in insulting the Duke of York and his family when the latter claims the throne. 

 
 

The Earl of Salisbury, of the Yorkist party, is the Earl of Warwick’s father and an old nobleman whose chief care is for the good of the realm. 

 
 

The Earl of Warwick, of the Yorkist party, is Salisbury’s son and a supporter of the Duke of York. 

 
 

Lord Scales is the officer in charge of the defense of the Tower of London. 

 
 

Lord Say is mistakenly believed by Cade’s rebels to be responsible for the losses in France, partly because he can speak French; he is also hated for heavy taxation. 

 
 

Sir Humphrey Stafford raises the King’s army and tries to disperse Cade’s riot in its early stages. 

 
 

Stafford’s Brother, William, joins Sir Humphrey in his attempt to disperse Cade’s followers with words. 

 
 

Sir John Stanley is named as Dame Eleanor’s jailer by the King, and insists to her that he will treat her as she is used to being treated, except for the whole being a prisoner on an island thing.

 
 

Vaux goes to tell the King of the Cardinal’s strange illness and impending death; he gives the news to the Queen on his way.

 
 

Matthew Goffe [mute role] is a Londoner killed by Cade’s rebels.

 
 

Alexander Iden is an esquire of Kent, quite removed from the rebellion, a quiet, unambitious man who merely wishes to live his life in peace and quiet, keeping his wealth up and giving charity to the poor. 

 
 

The Lieutenant is a pirate leader whose crew captures Suffolk and two gentlemen as he attempts to escape to France.

 
 

The Shipmaster pilots the pirate ship that captures Suffolk and the gentlemen, and plans to make a great deal of money by ransoming his share of the captured prisoners.

 
 

The Master's Mate is the Master’s second-in-command on the pirate ship that captures Suffolk and the gentlemen, and follows the Master’s lead in setting a ransom amount for his prisoner’s freedom.

 
 

Walter Whitmore is one of the pirate gang that captures Suffolk and the gentlemen. 

 
 

Sir John Hume is a priest has been bribed by the Cardinal and Suffolk to push the Duchess of Gloucester towards thinking of making her husband King, and to convince her to take the forbidden step of consulting magicians in the hopes of furthering her plans. 

 
 

John Southwell is a priest who assists Bolingbrook in his conjurations. 

 
 

Roger Bolingbrook is a conjurer who works with Margery Jordan and has been hired by the Duchess of Gloucester to raise a spirit and commit the forbidden act of asking for the King’s horoscope. 

 
 

Thomas Horner is an armorer who has claimed that the Duke of York has a better right to the throne than the King. 

 
 

Peter Thump is Horner’s apprentice. 

 
 

Emmanuel, the Clerk of Chatham has the misfortune of being able to read, write, and count, and to be caught by Cade’s rebels just as he is giving his students homework. Making the mistake of claiming that education is a good thing, he is hanged.

 
 

The Mayor of Saint Albans leads a procession bringing Simpcox to the King, eager to show off evidence of the power of Saint Alban’s shrine, the town’s main tourist attraction. 

 
 

Saunder Simpcox is a poor man and a fraud who travels the country pretending to be lame and to have been miraculously cured of blindness.

 
 

Jack Cade is a Kentishman who has served the Duke of York and is set by him to rise a rebellion against King Henry under the name of John Mortimer. 

 
 

George Bevis is one of the commoners who join Cade’s rebellion. 

 
 

John Holland is one of the commoners who join Cade’s rebellion. 

 
 

Dick the Butcher is a large, physically powerful man, essentially Cade’s second-in-command, though he clearly does not believe a word of Cade’s claims to noble blood, or misunderstands Cade’s intentions entirely, as he tries to build up Cade’s credibility by pointing out what a criminal he is. 

 
 

Smith the Weaver joins Cade’s rebellion but is not impressed with Cade’s claims of noble blood. 

 
 

Michael is one of Cade’s rebels. He sees Stafford’s army approaching and runs to advise Cade to escape. In the end, he is easily swayed and convinced to abandon Cade.

 
 

The First Murderer smothers Gloucester on Suffolk’s orders. He is not particularly bothered by this. 

 
 

Queen Margaret, of the Lancastrian party, is King Henry’s wife, the daughter of a penniless French nobleman, who brings no dowry with her to her marriage. 

 
 

The Second Murderer is struck with remorse after having helped smother Gloucester.

 
 

The Duchess of Gloucester (Dame Eleanor Cobham) is the wife of the Duke of Gloucester, a woman who enjoys the trappings of wealth and power a great deal. 

 
 

Margery Jordan is a witch who works with Roger Bolingbrook and has been hired by the Duchess of Gloucester to raise a spirit a commit the forbidden act of asking for the King’s horoscope. 

 
 

Simpcox’s Wife follows her husband and helps to propagate his fraudulent claim of being lame and recently cured of blindness.

 
 

A Spirit (Asmath) is a creature from the underworld controlled by Margery Jordan and Bolingbroke. Being commanded to appear on earth is painful for him. He predicts the future in ambiguous ways.

 
 

A Post comes from Ireland to warn the English government of a rebellion that has broken out there.

 
 

 

The First Gentleman is captured by pirates while traveling on the same ship that is conveying Suffolk to France. 
 
 

The Second Gentleman is captured by pirates while traveling on the same ship that is conveying Suffolk to France. 

 
 

The First Royal Messenger comes to summon Gloucester to a hawking party at Saint Albans.

 
 

The Second Royal Messenger rushes to the court to warn the King that Cade’s rebels have made it to the suburb of Southwark in London, and that the court is therefore in grave danger.

 
 

The Third Royal Messenger brings news to the King that Cade is on the verge of capturing London Bridge, the gateway to the city, and that the citizens of London are joining the rebels.

 
 

The Fourth Royal Messenger comes to tell the King that York has returned from Ireland and brought his army with him, and that he is calling for Somerset’s disgrace.

 
 

The First London Citizen warns Lord Scales that Cade has passed the Bridge into London itself, and transmits the Mayor’s plea for aid.

 
 

London Citizens [mute roles] are retreating from Cade’s rebels after the latter takes the Bridge. At Lord Scales’ order they go to Smithfield to gather an army to counterattack.

 
 

A Rebel Soldier rushes to bring Cade the news that a royal army has gathered against the rebels. 

 
 

A Rebel Messenger brings Cade the news that the rebels have captured Lord Say. 

 
 

The Sheriff of London is in charge of Dame Eleanor’s penance, and conducts her through the streets of London as she performs it. He is a dutiful man who performs his tasks to the letter. 

 
 

A Herald is sent to summon Gloucester to a session of Parliament, the first of Henry’s reign that Gloucester has not called himself.

 
 

The First Petitioner hopes to receive help from the Duke of Gloucester against one of the Cardinal’s servants, who has taken all he has.

 
 

The Second Petitioner represents the village of Melford, and hopes for help from the Duke of Gloucester against Suffolk, who has enclosed the common lands around the village, plunging all the villagers into poverty. He accidentally allows Suffolk to see his petition first.

 
 

Gloucester's Servingman [mute role] is ordered by the Duke of York to invite Salisbury and Warwick to dinner after York arrests the Duchess.

 
 

 

The Beadle of Saint Albans is a town official whose tasks include whipping common malefactors. He is very matter-of-fact about this aspect of his job.
 
 

The First Neighbor is a friend of Horner’s, and hopes to rouse his fighting spirit by giving him a drink, contributing to his death.

 
 

The Second Neighbor is a friend of Horner’s, and hopes to rouse his fighting spirit by giving him a drink, contributing to his death.

 
 

The Third Neighbor is a friend of Horner’s, and hopes to rouse his fighting spirit by giving him a drink, contributing to his death.

 
 

The First Prentice (Robin) is a friend of Peter’s, and hopes to help him overcome his fright before the fight by giving him a drink.

 
 

The Second Prentice (Will) is a friend of Peter’s, and hopes to help him overcome his fright before the fight by giving him a drink.

 
 

The Third Prentice (Tom) [mute role] is a friend of Peter’s, and hopes to help him overcome his fright before the fight by giving him a drink. He hopes Peter will win as a blow for prentices against masters.

 
 

Iden’s Men [mute roles] are five of Alexander Iden’s servants.

 
 

The Citizens of Saint Albans are apparently not very intelligent, or perhaps have a need to believe in the efficacy of their town’s shrine, the main tourist attraction. 

 
 

A Sawyer [mute role] is one of Cade’s rebels. In the end, he is easily swayed and convinced to abandon Cade.

 
 

Best’s Son, the Tanner [mute role] is one of Cade’s rebels. In the end, he is easily swayed and convinced to abandon Cade.

 
 

Falconers [mute roles] are a part of the King’s hunting party, calling back the hawks that have flown off.

 
 

One Citizen is convinced of Simpcox’s cure and rushes to tell anyone who will listen about it, up to the King.

 
 

York's Guards [mute roles] accompany York and Buckingham when they burst in on the Duchess of Gloucester at the conjuration (scene 1.4); they escort the conjuring party and the Duchess away.

 
 

 

York's Attendant [mute role] is sent by his master to summon the Duke's sons and their armies to York's side to intimidate King Henry.
 
 

 

Rebel Poleman returns from the execution of Say and Cromer with their heads on the end of poles, and has a great time making them kiss.
 
 

First Commoner is the spokesperson of the mob of ordinary citizens who gather to protest Gloucester’s death and demand Suffolk’s execution.

 
 

Commoners are ordinary citizens who, hearing of Gloucester’s death and convinced that he has been murdered by Suffolk, form a mob to demand Suffolk’s head.

 
 

Gloucester's First Attendant follows his Lord to witness Dame Eleanor’s penance, dressed in mourning. He gives Gloucester the time.

 
 

Gloucester's Second Attendant follows his Lord to witness Dame Eleanor’s penance, dressed in mourning. He offers to carry her off from the Sheriff, but his offer is refused.

 
 

Cade’s Followers are a bunch of uneducated ruffians who follow Cade for the pleasure of sowing anarchy, though they are quick to abandon him when offered a pardon from the King.

 
 
 
 
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