Henry VI Part 3
Discuss the role of Margaret, who is the only character who appears in all three Henry VI plays. Why do so many accuse her of being "unnatural"? If you have read the other Henry plays, how does she change throughout? Do you think she is stepping in to fill Henry's weakness and to care for her son's succession, or does she have plans of her own?
Consider Edward's marriage to Lady Gray. Why is this an unwise marriage?
Consider Richard, one of Shakespeare's most interesting characters, and his language. How do we get to know him in this play? How does he speak differently than the other characters? How does he plan to achieve his ends, and how might speech help him?
Consider Richard and his deformity. Could you make a case that proves Richard's behavior originates with his deformity or his deformity is a sign of his inner nature? Or is he a symbol of the deformity of the nation? Are there other deformities of unnatural things in this play to compare Richard with?
Discuss the nature of family in this play or throughout the Henry VI series. Consider succession, family loyalties, family disputes as national battles, etc.
How do the "mirror scenes," where a scene separate from the main plot reflects a theme of the whole, work? Consider the scenes where Henry watches the battle and how that mirrors family disintegration throughout the play.
Many battles and transfers of power take place during this play, with Henry in and out of prison and Edward on and off the throne. Do you think this confusion of battles, plus various characters changing sides, would encourage an audience to more viscerally experience the nation spiraling into chaos? How?
This play has been variously named The True Tragedy of Richard, Duke of York and the Good King Henry VI and simply 3 Henry VI. What do you think would be the best title? Could it be 1 Richard III? Does it seem like more or less of a tragedy depending on which name is chosen?
Henry seems finally to just dwindle away, not speaking, not protesting, and no longer wanting to be in the public eye. Chart his decline, considering how this leader came to be an observer and finally a minor pawn while his nobles fought it out. Especially consider the importance of his speech in this play.
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