The saintly Henry VI is undermined by his nobles, especially the ambitious Richard, Duke of York, and by the Kentish rebellion, led by the charismatic Jack Cade, popular champion and savage critic of England's social inequality.
The plays which make up Shakespeare's Henry VI create a world without ideology; a savage time, when the heroes are not kings, but formidable women, such as Joan of Arc, or rebels, such as Jack Cade.
Bold characterisation, black comedy, rhetorical power and, in the personality of Henry VI, touching pathos combine in Shakespeare's powerful rendering of a country wracked by civil war.
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