Henry VI Part 2 minimized

Margaret of Anjou and Henry VI have married, Suffolk smoothly promoting her. The year is 1445. Suffolk had plans to stay near her, hoping to influence public policy, for among other reasons. Humphrey is now referred to by his title, Gloucester.  To her surprise and disappointment, the queen finds Suffolk to be more charming than the king. 

1. Gloucester continues his role as the king’s Protector, having been appointed to the role years ago by the king’s father, Henry V. The young king is pious and naïve.  The king has named Somerset as Regent of France, replacing Plantagenet (York).  York considers recruiting Salisbury and Warwick to his cause, “no simple peers,” both Lancastrians. Gloucester’s wife has hired a sorceress to help her divine the future, a mistake. 

2. Salisbury and Warwick decide to support York, York making a very convincing presentation. The king has banned Gloucester’s wife to the Isle of Man for her sorceress indiscretion. She warns her husband to keep his eyes open. Gloucester ignores her fears.

3. The King’s Council convenes and condemns Gloucester. He’s at risk. He’s first in line to succeed the king. The king offers him little support. He is taken away and killed. The “common people,” among others, claim Suffolk was guilty of Gloucester’s murder.  Suffolk is banned from England.  He and the queen share a tender conversation, they long having had an intimate relationship. 

4. A disguised Suffolk, captured at sea, is murdered by the ship’s crew, they believing him to be culpable for England’s deterioration.  York accepts the king’s request to go to Ireland to quell the locals.  From Ireland, York encourages a Jack Cade to cause some class mischief in London, a friend of Cade’s famously saying “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”

5. York returns from Ireland and directly challenges the king for the crown. The only battle in the War of the Roses takes place at St. Albans. York kills Old Clifford. York’s son, Richard, kills Somerset.  A frightened king, queen and Young Clifford quickly retreat to London.  York and his allies chase them but fail to catch them.

Copyright © 2010 Minimized Shakespeare

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