Description : Henry VI, Part 3 (often written as 3 Henry VI) is a history play by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1591, and set during the lifetime of King Henry VI of England. Whereas 1 Henry VI deals with the loss of England's French territories and the political machinations leading up to the Wars of the Roses, and 2 Henry VI focuses on the King's inability to quell the bickering of his nobles, and the inevitability of armed conflict, 3 Henry VI deals primarily with the horrors of that conflict, with the once ordered nation thrown into chaos and barbarism as families break down and moral codes are subverted in the pursuit of revenge and power. Although the Henry VI trilogy may not have been written in chronological order, the three plays are often grouped together with Richard III to form a tetralogy covering the entire Wars of the Roses saga, from the death of Henry V in 1422 to the rise to power of Henry VII in 1485. It was the success of this sequence of plays which firmly established Shakespeare's reputation as a playwright. Henry VI, Part 3 features the longest soliloquy in all of Shakespeare (3.2.124–195), and has more battle scenes (four on stage, one reported) than any other of Shakespeare's plays.
Description : Shakspere’s history plays are more than dramatized history lessons. They explore contemporary dangers inherent in royal succession at a time when Elizabeth I decreed that mere discussion of who would inherit the throne was treason. The plays were political and therefore dangerous. Yet William Shakspere from Stratford-upon-Avon was never arrested for his writing nor spent time in prison, unlike his fellow playwrights Marlowe, Kyd and Jonson. In 1601 Sir Henry Neville was imprisoned and “Shakespeare” stopped writing history plays. The identification of Neville as an authorship candidate, put forward by James and Rubinstein (2005), urges reinterpretation of the plays. Neville enjoyed privileged access to the Holinshed Chronicles (1587), a primary source for the plays. He was ambassador to France and spoke French (see Henry V), knew the descendants of Jack Cade (Henry VI Part 2), was familiar with Crosby Place (Richard III) and lived in Blackfriars (Henry VIII). This book reveals new evidence of Neville’s authorship, with examples of annotation found in books from Neville’s library suggesting they were source material for the plays. Numerous anomalies in the plays indicate Shakespeare’s consistent bias in portraying the Nevilles in a positive light, revealing the hidden author’s political viewpoint and true identity.