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MonkeyNotes-King Henry VI, Part 3 by William Shakespeare
Table of Contents


Major Theme

The play offers a descriptive account of aristocratic internecine
fighting over which family is to rule the crown. The tribalism that
occurs in these plays results in a social disorder that results in civil
war. The basic bonds of society and families are disrupted and
individual morality, custom, trust, duty and self-control disappear
while suffering and bloodshed are rampant. It is an unstable and
constantly shifting world that Shakespeare evokes in his trilogy
and this last part of the trilogy is the most ferocious and bloody
resulting in the rise of Richard III's rule. Irrational fury, anger,
hate, pride, ambition and lust for gold and power flourish amidst
the horrors of a civil war.

Minor Theme

The Wheel of Fortune is an appropriate symbol of Henry VI Part 3.
Fate or Fortune is linked with individual passions that tilt society
out of balance because of their furious nature. Since the crown was
bestowed on Henry IV, grandfather of Henry VI, by unscrupulous
means, the fate of England is to be malignant until the crown's
rightful heir is on the throne. Due to this injustice, all of Britain's
noble families are indiscreet, ruled by lust, ambition, revenge and
anger and they become victims of their own injustices. No side is
the better in this play and each side bears the costs of violence and
moral degradation. No one is exonerated for the acts they partake
in and each is vulnerable to the cruel hand of Fate. Subterfuge and
treachery beget a society that is in chaos and out of balance.

Table of Contents


Nihilistic prophecies of civil war and its consequences continue
throughout the play. An atmosphere of blood and revenge prevails
throughout the play. Threats, wishes, fears and intentions
constantly fulfill the same function. Lust, ambition, revenge, anger
and false hopes rule all the main characters. The imagery creates
an atmosphere of chaos, grief, and bloodshed.

Table of Contents
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MonkeyNotes-King Henry VI, Part 3 by William Shakespeare

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