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PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource

Henry VI, Part 2 Characters

King Henry the Sixth

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. 

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Duke of Gloucester

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

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Cardinal Beauford

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. 

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Duke of Somerset

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. 

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Duke of Suffolk

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). 

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Lord Clifford

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. 

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Young Clifford

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. 

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Earl of Salisbury

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. 

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Lord Say

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. 

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Sir John Stanley

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

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

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

Alexander Iden

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. 

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Lieutenant

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

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Shipmaster

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.

Master's Mate

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.

John Hume

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. 

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Roger Bolingbrook

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. 

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Thomas Horner

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

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Clerk of Chatham

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.

Mayor of Saint Albans

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. 

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Saunder Simpcox

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.

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Jack Cade

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. 

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Dick the Butcher

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. 

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Michael

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.

Queen Margaret

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. 

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Second Murderer

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

Margery Jordan

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. 

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Simpcox’s Wife

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

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Spirit

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.

Post

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

First Royal Messenger

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

Second Royal Messenger

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.

Third Royal Messenger

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.

Fourth Royal Messenger

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.

First London Citizen

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

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.

Sheriff of London

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. 

Herald

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

First Petitioner

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.

Second Petitioner

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

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

Beadle of Saint Albans

 

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.

First Neighbor

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.

Second Neighbor

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.

Third Neighbor

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.

First Prentice

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.

Second Prentice

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.

Third Prentice

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

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

Citizens of Saint Albans

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. 

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Sawyer

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

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

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

One Citizen

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

Commoners

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

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

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

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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