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

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. 

Shy and awkward, his response to everything is to praise God and quote pious clichés, even when reading a prediction of his own deposition. He is overborne by his wife Margaret and oblivious to her love for Suffolk. His greatest desire is for peace between all his noblemen and his subjects, but his pleading has little effect. He has full trust in Gloucester, and follows his lead in everything until the latter is tossed out by the other members of the nobility. Despite his conviction of Gloucester’s innocence, Henry does not have the strength to go against the will of all the other noblemen and the Queen. The extent of his reliance on Gloucester is such that he faints on learning of the Duke’s death. He is easily bullied, though he strives for justice at all times and comes to recognize that he is not as good a ruler as he should be. He is baffled and disconcerted when York denies his claim to the throne. A determined pacifist in a court of combative, violent enemies, he is a sympathetic figure, if only because he is so utterly out of his depth. His further adventures are chronicled in Henry VI, Part Three.

 

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