Act Four, Scene One: Murdered by Pirates is Good (yeah, I know they’re not pirates, but I couldn’t resist)

Act Four, Scene One of The Second Part of Henry the Sixth takes place on a ship, one that has just boarded the ship taking Suffolk off to banishment.  The captain of the ship disperses the three prisoners (including a disguised Suffolk) to his cohorts (so that they may be ransomed).  Suffolk is ready to pay his ransom for release until he hears the name of his captor: Walter Whitmore.  When he hears the name, however, he “starts” such that Whitmore asks, “What does thee affright?” (both IV.i.33).  Suffolk’s answer is simple:

Thy name affrights me, in whose sound is death.
A cunning man did calculate my birth,
And told me that by Water I should die

— IV.i.34-36

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Podcast 18: The Second Part of Henry the Sixth (The first part of the plot)

This week’s podcast includes a introduction to our discussion of The Second Part of Henry the Sixth, including a plot synopsis of the first half of the play, and our usual recap of this week’s blog entries.
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Act Three, the Remainder: Death, Banishment, More Death, and a Little TLC

Act Three, Scene Two of The Second Part of Henry the Sixth begins with a bit of stage direction:

The curtains are drawn apart, revealing Duke Humphrey of Gloucester in his bed with two men lying on his breast, smothering him in his bed.

— III.ii.begin s.d.

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Act Three, Scene One: The Bottom is Reached for Humphrey

Act Three, Scene One of The Second Part of Henry the Sixth presents the parliament at Bury Saint Edmunds to which Gloucester was summoned at the end of Act Two.  It begins with King Henry “mus(ing)” (III.i.1) why his uncle is late.

could it be the short notice he received?  dramatically possible but historically inaccurate (surprise surprise… but that and others will be a later topic)

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Act Two: It’s a Long Way from the Top to the Bottom for the Lord Protector

Act Two of The Second Part of Henry the Sixth begins, following the arrest of Eleanor and the occultists, with her husband Humphrey Duke of Gloucester hawking with the royal party at Saint Albans.  After some symbolic statements about falcons flying high (an analog to man’s ambition), Winchester and Gloucester begin their usual sniping, this time with Queen Margaret joining in on the attacks on Gloucester, much to the dismay of King Henry: “I prithee peace, Good queen, and when not on these furious peers” (II.i.32-33).  Surprisingly, she stops.

The verbal tussle is interrupted by the Mayor and townspeople of Saint Albans, carrying a lame man called Simpcox, all crying out that a miracle has happened.  It seems that Simpcox had been blind until today.  Through careful examination, though, Gloucester is able to determine that this is all a scam, that Simpcox was never blind.  It’s a comic sequence, and at the end of it, even Queen Margaret is laughing.  Gloucester, for once, is not under attack; even Winchester states, “Duke Humphrey has done a miracle today” (II.i.162).
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Act One, Scenes Two through Four: A Dry Run at Big Lady M, and Even More Intrigue

Act One, Scene One of The Second Part of Henry the Sixth ended (yesterday) with a soliloquy by York outlining his ambitious goal: the throne of England.  After he exits, enter Humphrey Duke of Gloucester and his wife Eleanor, who questions him on his gloom.  She asks what he sees on “the sullen earth” (I.ii.5), and wonders if it is “King Henry’s diadem, // Enchased with all the honors of the world” (I.ii.7-8); and if it is the crown he sees, then her advice is to “gaze on… until (his) head be circled with the same” (I.ii.9-10).  She goes on to tell how she’ll help him achieve the crown through her support.
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Act One, Scene One: This is not going to end well…

Like the play that precedes it in the tetralogy, The Second Part of Henry the Sixth begins with pageantry, only this time instead of it being a funeral, now we’re dealing with a quasi-wedding: Henry is being introduced to his wife (married in proxy to Suffolk).  Remember, this follows the closing scenes of The First Part of Henry the Sixth, in which we see Suffolk taking Margaret prisoner, then ambitiously deciding to pimp her off to Henry as Queen (though even more ambitiously planning to “rule both her, the king and realm” [1HenryVI: V.vii.108]).
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Following the Order

As we transition our discussion from The First Part of Henry the Sixth to The Second, it’s probably a pretty good time to revisit the Roadmap.  Remember back then, we said

Yeah, I’ve played around a little the with sequencing… but only to keep the tetralogies both in order and consecutive (for example, moving The Merry Wives of Windsor to after Henry V so the four histories are together)

Well, it applies to both last month and this.  There is some debate in the literary and academic community as to the sequence of the first tetralogy’s order of composition.
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Podcast 17: The First Part of Henry the Sixth Wrap-Up

This week’s podcast includes a wrap-up of our discussion of The First Part of Henry the Sixth, including a note about production concepts, a few words about casting, and a not-so-critical (or maybe that’s really critical) evaluation of the play.  We’ll also take a quick inventory of “the Project” thus far, and do our usual recap of this week’s blog entries.
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Happy Halloween…

Dress up as your fave Shakespearean character!

A post-transformation Bottom is always fun! (of course, Caesar means togas…)

Have a great one, and see you tomorrow for the final podcast on 1HenryVI….