Henry VI, Part 3
Henry VI, Part 3, brings the relatively tedious cycle of Henry VI plays to a close. Largely it’s interesting in that it sets up the cast of characters for Richard III, which is arguably a better-structured play, if not vastly more profound.
This final segment of the trilogy depicts a society in disorder and decay, as the bonds that hold normal human behavior together fray and then, one after another, break. The view is depressing, though it does have a certain horrific fascination. It leads us into the thick of the Wars of the Roses, which shall finally be brought to the close in the next play.
It has the dubious distinction of having four battles on stage, and yet another reported offstage, and it also contains at least one colossal soliloquy.
All the Henry VI plays are relatively scarce in live production, and they have never (at least not in modern times) been great favorites with audiences. (There is some evidence that they were at least somewhat more popular with audiences when they were first written.) On the same principle, there are fairly few film productions as well — mostly from companies releasing them as part of larger sequences.
There are nevertheless some rather interesting pieces here, so they’re worth watching.