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Henry VI Quizzes, Trivia and Puzzles
Henry VI Quizzes, Trivia

Henry VI Trivia

Henry VI Trivia Quizzes

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"Henry VI, Part 1" covers the loss of England's territories in the Hundred Years' War, and the start of the domestic political strife that followed. "Henry VI, Part 2" continues to show the kingdom falling apart under a king who could not impose his will on the nobles. "Henry VI, Part 3" chronicles the resulting Wars of the Roses.
3 Henry VI quizzes and 30 Henry VI trivia questions.
Henry VI Part 1
  Henry VI, Part 1 editor best quiz   great trivia quiz  
Photo Quiz
 10 Qns
Dig into this play, the "pre-quel" to two more Shakespearean histories taking place during the reign of Henry VI, and sort through fact and fiction. I hope the pictures help!
Average, 10 Qns, nannywoo, Mar 08 14
nannywoo gold member
600 plays
  Henry VI, Part 3 editor best quiz   top quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
The final play in William Shakespeare's 'Henry VI' trilogy picks up the story following the Yorkist victory at the Battle of St. Albans. Take this quiz to test your knowledge of Shakespeare's interpretation of the events that followed...
Tough, 10 Qns, Fifiona81, Jul 16 16
Fifiona81 editor
244 plays
  Henry VI, Part 2   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Not a wildly exciting title, perhaps, but this play is vintage early Shakespeare, utterly riveting on stage when well performed. Here are some questions about it.
Average, 10 Qns, londoneye98, Aug 15 14
londoneye98 gold member
158 plays
Related Topics
  Henry II [People] (3 quizzes)

  Henry III [People] (2 quizzes)

  Henry IV [Literature] (2 quizzes)

  Henry V [Literature] (3 quizzes)

  Henry VII [People] (2 quizzes)

  Henry VIII [People] (11 quizzes)

  Henry VIII, Wives of [People] (28 quizzes)

Henry VI Trivia Questions

1. In the opening scene, the Duke of York reached an agreement with King Henry that led Henry's wife Margaret to accuse him of being "an unnatural father". What was the outcome of this negotiation?

From Quiz
Henry VI, Part 3

Answer: Henry named York as his heir, disinheriting his son

Act I Scene I of 'Henry VI, Part 3' opened with the Duke of York being encouraged by his entourage to sit on King Henry's throne in anticipation of winning his crown. Henry turned up in time to witness this and the two argued over their competing claims to the kingdom. When it became clear to Henry that he was in serious danger of being deposed, he adopted the plan of naming York as his heir in order to secure his position. Needless to say, his wife, Queen Margaret, was less than impressed about her son being summarily disinherited. She dismissed her husband as a "timorous wretch" and stalked off to gather her army to bring about the "utter ruin of the house of York". Shakespeare's version of these events does have some similarity to the real history, although both the details and the timings are not terribly accurate. After the First Battle of St. Albans in 1455, Henry was captured and York was appointed Lord Protector of England by parliament. It was not until the aftermath of the Battle of Northampton in 1460 that York openly declared his wish to replace the king and there is no evidence to suggest that he ever actually seated himself on the throne during the subsequent negotiations. It was parliament and York that came to the agreement that Henry would remain king, but that York would be named as his heir - a decision that was then set in law through the Act of Accord of October 1460. Henry was simply forced to accept the situation.

2. How could we best describe the character of Henry VI of England, as Shakespeare portrays him in this play?

From Quiz Henry VI, Part 2

Answer: kind-hearted

Shakespeare's Henry is gentle, naive and peace-loving, making him a fine dramatic foil to the cynical and Machiavellian brutes who surround him. One could call him childlike: his response to the evil and violence surrounding and threatening him is to wring his hands and impotently quote St Matthew, "Blessed are the peacemakers". The nineteenth-century critic G. C. Verplanck praises Shakespeare's "meek and holy Henry, whose gentle lowliness of spirit is brought out with a prominence and beauty beyond what history alone would have suggested to the Poet". Today's audiences - like Shakespeare's original audiences, perhaps - would tend to see Henry as ridiculous rather than beautiful in his role of King. "Morals are out of fashion" here, comments the modern critic Andrew Dickson, suggesting that Henry is "a medieval character adrift in a Renaissance play". Henry appears philosophical, almost sanguine, in the face of every piece of gloomy news that reaches him of yet another English disaster in the Hundred Years' War (God's will be done," he says meekly). These French wars, in fact - so central to the action of "Henry VI, Part 1" - recede into the distance in this play as the civil disorders at home and the widespread discontent with Henry's government take centre stage. The gentle Henry has enough on his plate in England.

3. King Henry's military commander, Lord Clifford, captured and murdered one of the Duke of York's sons during the Battle of Wakefield in Act I Scene III. Which son suffered this fate?

From Quiz Henry VI, Part 3

Answer: Edmund, Earl of Rutland

Edmund, Earl of Rutland and his tutor were attempting to flee the scene of the battle when they ran into Lord Clifford. Unfortunately Clifford was set on obtaining revenge against the Duke of York for killing his father at the First Battle of St. Albans, an event depicted in the penultimate scene of 'Henry VI, Part 2'. He achieved his aim by stabbing young Rutland after uttering the line: "Thy father slew my father; therefore, die." Although history records that Clifford's father was a Lancastrian military leader who lost his life during the First Battle of St. Albans, it is far from clear that he was actually directly slain by the Duke of York. Shakespeare's version of events is believed to be correct in attributing Rutland's death to Clifford, but incorrectly depicts Rutland as both York's youngest son and a defenceless child. In fact, Rutland was York's 17-year-old second son, who had actively taken part in the battle. William, John and Thomas were three real-life sons of the Duke of York who died in infancy and therefore did not feature in Shakespeare's version of events. The title of Earl of March was originally held by York's eldest son Edward, while the Earls of Pembroke and Salisbury were both Yorkist supporters and minor characters in the play.

4. As the play begins, King Henry's marriage is being prepared. Who is the bride, described by the devious and self-serving Marquess of Suffolk as "The happiest gift that ever marquess gave,/The fairest queen that ever king received"?

From Quiz Henry VI, Part 2

Answer: Margaret of Anjou

This forthcoming marriage is going to prove an unmitigated disaster to king and country alike, as Shakespeare's first audiences - well briefed in the vicissitudes of English medieval history - will have been well enough aware of. There is therefore rich dramatic irony in Henry's gracious reply to Suffolk: "...thou hast given me in this beauteous face/A world of earthly blessings to my soul,/If sympathy of love unite our thoughts". Suffolk, who has himself quickly become Margaret's lover, is presented as being hugely unpopular with the Yorkist faction at court, partly because he has arranged a marriage for the king which will not include the usual dowry and which will also involve considerable loss of English territory in France. As the Duke of York - who himself harbours secret ambitions for the crown - punningly puts it: "For Suffolk's duke, may he be suffocate/That dims the honour of this warlike isle!"

5. In Act I Scene IV, the Duke of York was forced to stand on a mole-hill, given a cloth soaked in his son's blood to wipe his face, and had a paper crown placed on his head. He was then stabbed to death by which two characters?

From Quiz Henry VI, Part 3

Answer: Queen Margaret and Lord Clifford

York was captured on the field of the Battle of Wakefield by Queen Margaret, Lord Clifford, the Earl of Northumberland and Prince Edward (the son of King Henry VI and Queen Margaret), who then proceeded to humiliate him and taunt him with the news of the death of his son, Rutland. Although Northumberland appeared to show some sympathy for him and Prince Edward remained silent throughout, Clifford stabbed him in revenge "for my father's death" and the Queen stabbed him "to right our gentle-hearted king". The humiliation didn't end there though - Margaret then gave the order to have his head cut from his corpse and placed on the gates of the city of York. Shakespeare's version of the Duke of York's death definitely has a few holes in it. Although the Duke of York died in battle at Wakefield in 1460, there is no evidence to suggest who actually killed him, let alone any suggestion that the Queen turned up to do the job herself. However, his head did end up on display on a pike over one of York's gates on the orders of the victorious Lancastrian army - possibly on the orders of the Queen herself - and it was given a paper crown...

6. What is the nickname usually given by historians to Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, secret supporter of Richard Duke of York's claims to the English throne?

From Quiz Henry VI, Part 2

Answer: Warwick the Kingmaker

Warwick, who becomes even more central to the action in Part 3 of the trilogy, must be a wonderfully rewarding part to play on stage, a cold and calculating politician who keeps his devious stratagems to himself, later is to change sides to devastating effect more than once, and will effectively decide the identities of successive English kings. Here in Part 2 he impresses his strong and vigorous personality on the audience right from the start of the action, using in the process a typical Shakespearean punning device: "Unto the main! O father, Maine is lost; That Maine which by main force Warwick did win, And would have kept so long as breath did last! Main chance, father, you meant; but I meant Maine, Which I will win from France, or else be slain." Shakespeare extracts glorious humour from the two-faced treachery in the hearts of almost everybody at the court, in the way the characters repeatedly praise one another to their faces and then immediately trash any individual as soon as he has left the stage. Warwick's support for York is so secret, in fact, that even York himself does not seem to be aware of it - or perhaps he does not believe it, having noticed that Warwick is habitually not what he seems. Hardly anybody at the English court, in fact, appears to trust anybody else.

7. The future King Edward IV and his brother Richard witnessed a vision in Act II Scene I that led Edward to believe that the three surviving sons of York should join forces in order to achieve victory. What was the vision?

From Quiz Henry VI, Part 3

Answer: Three suns rising in the sky

"Three glorious suns, each one a perfect sun; Not separated with the racking clouds, But sever'd in a pale clear-shining sky." These lines were the future King Richard III's initial reaction to the vision of three suns rising in the sky. The missing brother who was not present to witness this phenomenon was George Plantagenet, who turned up shortly afterwards with an army supplied by his aunt the Duchess of Burgundy. Edward swiftly acted on the vision by declaring himself to be King Edward IV and setting off to battle Henry's forces at Towton to consolidate his new position. Shakespeare obviously deployed a lot of artistic licence in this scene, as clearly it would have been scientifically impossible for three suns to have risen in the sky. The less obvious artistic licence came in his depiction of the three brothers as fellow warriors. The Battle of Towton took place in 1461, when George and Richard were just twelve and nine years old respectively. The three brothers also did not have an aunt in Burgundy - Edward did receive military support from Burgundy, but not until after his sister, Margaret, married the Duke of Burgundy in 1468.

8. What does Queen Margaret dramatically do in one of the early court scenes in London (in the process sowing the seeds of a deadly vendetta with another character), after dropping her fan on the floor?

From Quiz Henry VI, Part 2

Answer: she gives the Duchess of Gloucester a box on the ear

The deadly enmity between these two hugely proud and ambitious women, Margaret and Eleanor, is another important ingredient in the drama. Neither of them can stomach the high status enjoyed by the other, and here the Queen pretends she mistook the Duchess for a serving-maid who failed to pick up her fallen fan, but nobody except her credulous husband believes this transparent lie. Eleanor retorts, scarcely caring perhaps whether she is heard or not, that "Though in this place most master wear no breeches/She shall not strike Dame Eleanor unrevenged". After this ominous incident, the attendant lords continue their persistent wrangling, and even mere commoners enter the court fighting, with the King apparently lacking the will or ability to prevent them. Shakespeare presents us with a vivid picture of a once orderly society falling to pieces about our ears.

9. In Act III, Scene II, the newly crowned King Edward IV was petitioned by a widow named Lady Grey for the return of her husband's lands. Edward was prepared to grant her wishes, but placed what condition on his decision?

From Quiz Henry VI, Part 3

Answer: She must agree to marry him

Act III, Scene II of the play depicts King Edward's infatuation with the young widow, Lady Grey. She and Edward debated her loyalty and love, but she refused to become his mistress in order to reclaim her lands and he therefore offered her marriage instead. His brothers, the newly designated Dukes of Clarence and Gloucester, provided comedic asides on the progress of discussion - including Clarence's line: "He is the bluntest wooer in Christendom". Gloucester alone remained on stage at the end to address a soliloquy to the audience in which he revealed his plans for becoming king himself and lamented the fact that he would never find love because of his withered arm and humped back - the famous Shakespearean description that became associated with him as King Richard III. Shakespeare's description of the hasty marriage between the newly crowned King Edward IV and Lady Elizabeth Grey nee Woodville is not far off the mark historically. However, he incorrectly identified Elizabeth's first husband as Sir Richard Grey rather than Sir John Grey and ascribed them three children rather than the two known to history. The reference to Gloucester's deformities was often assumed by historians to be a Shakespearean slander, but when the former king's body was discovered under a car park in Leicester in 2012 it turned out that he did suffer from a severe scoliosis of the spine.

10. What is the name of the famous English rebel who suddenly appears with his men in a scene set in Blackheath?

From Quiz Henry VI, Part 2

Answer: Jack Cade

Even those members of the audience who know Cade will play a part in this drama may often feel a twinge of surprise at his sudden entrance, and this in spite of the fact that the Duke of York, who once employed Cade as a soldier, has briefly mentioned during the preceding action that he has arranged an uprising of peasants against Henry's rule. Shakespeare makes Cade a ridiculous, uproariously comic, figure (one imagines his role would have been assigned in the play's first performances to some well-known clown of the early 1590s): there is certainly nothing remotely heroic or tragic about this illiterate Kentish peasant who wants to be King. (There is a rich irony a little later in the action when King Henry enters and announces sadly, "Was never subject long'd to be a king/As I do long and wish to be a subject".) Inspired by his henchman Dick's programme of "killing all the lawyers", Cade sits down to develop his revolutionary manifesto. "Here," he says, "sitting upon London-stone, I charge and command that, of the city's cost, the ... conduit run nothing but claret wine this first year of our reign." He proceeds to pronounce a death sentence on the unfortunate Lord Say with the terrible words, "Thou hast most traitorously corrupted the youth of the realm in erecting a grammar school!" Say and Sir Humphrey Stafford are both summarily executed by the mob, as is the poor Clerk of Chatham, whose crime is that he knows how to read and write ("Away with him," cries Cade, "hang him with his pen and inkhorn about his neck.") Alexander Iden, "a Kentish gentleman", finds Cade trespassing in his garden after the confused failure of the peasants' rebellion and, like a true English gentleman, immediately kills the intruder for his audacity in so doing. When the action moves back to London this allows Shakespeare to indulge his talent for dramatic entrances with the stage direction "Enter Iden, with Cade's head". This echoes another such stage direction a little earlier when the Queen walks onstage carrying her lover Suffolk's severed head.

11. The Earl of Warwick and his French soldiers captured King Edward IV at his encampment in Warwickshire in Act IV Scene III. In which Yorkshire castle, owned by the Earl of Warwick, was he imprisoned?

From Quiz Henry VI, Part 3

Answer: Middleham Castle

After declaring his support for King Henry VI, Warwick set out to capture King Edward and remove him from the throne. He greeted his former protégé as a duke, refused to acknowledge his claim to the throne and forcibly removed the crown from his head. However, he simply ordered his imprisonment at Middleham Castle, with his (Warwick's) brother as his gaoler, rather than killing him - a somewhat surprising act given the amount of bloodshed that had previously occurred. Fortunately for Edward, Warwick's brother's idea of imprisonment included allowing the prisoner out of the castle to hunt in the grounds. He was thus promptly rescued by his brother Richard and some supporters and escaped to set sail for Burgundy to raise his own army. Warwick described the development as "Unsavoury news!" but simply commented that "My brother was too careless in his charge". Middleham Castle in North Yorkshire was owned by the Earl of Warwick's family from 1270 until King Richard III (who had married Anne Neville) ascended the throne in 1483. Both the future Richard III and his brother George, Duke of Clarence were brought up at Middleham alongside Warwick's own children and Richard and Anne made it their main home from the early 1470s. It is also true that it briefly served as a prison for King Edward IV in 1469 - however, Shakespeare's version diverges from the real history at this point as Edward was eventually released on Warwick's orders and no hunting-based rescue party was ever necessary.

12. Cardinal Beaufort is another memorable figure in the drama, whose English diocese would have included the land south of the River Thames in London where the most famous Elizabethan theatres were later built. What is the Cardinal's other title?

From Quiz Henry VI, Part 2

Answer: Bishop of Winchester

The Bishops of Winchester owned brothels in Southwark during the Middle Ages, their girls being popularly known as "Winchester geese". Shakespeare makes no use of this particular historical detail, but it is probably no accident that he makes the play's only Cardinal a villainous figure, since anti-Catholicism was rife in England in the early 1590s (encouraged by the government): Christopher Marlowe was able to present without official complaint his Roman scene in "Doctor Faustus" in which the Pope and his Cardinals are made to look utterly ridiculous by Mephistopheles's mischievous tricks. Shakespeare's Cardinal is a very evil man indeed, closely involved in all the plotting and counter-plotting of the play, and he makes a bad end - on his agonised deathbed he signally fails to ask God for forgiveness of his many sins, and in fact there is a distinct Marlovian touch when the watching Henry observes of the Cardinal that "He dies, and makes no sign" - with Warwick tersely adding, "So bad a death argues a monstrous life". There are other hints of anti-Catholic sentiment in "Henry VI Part 2", as Andrew Dickson has remarked. Simcox, the man who claims to have had his sight restored by miracle - and is believed only by the gullible King - is quickly exposed as a fraud and a trickster, and the audience may here feel an almost tangible sense that the age of miracles, in the old Catholic tradition, is truly past. This perceived anti-Catholicism will probably have been just one of the many ingredients which, scholars believe, made "Henry VI Part 2" an immediate smash hit when the first performances were given on London's Bankside.

13. At whom is Clifford's invective "Hence, heap of wrath, foul indigested lump,/As crooked in thy manners as thy shape!" directed?

From Quiz Henry VI, Part 2

Answer: Richard Plantagenet, the future Richard III

The scene in which Shakespeare first introduces the prince who, in "Richard III", will grow into one of his most famous and unforgettable dramatic monsters, is particularly rich in vicious verbal abuse and vilification (in fact, it is the scene in which the Yorkists first openly lay claim to the English throne). First Richard's father York, finding that Henry has deceived him, angrily confronts his sovereign: "False king! Why hast thou broken faith with me, Knowing how hardly I can brook abuse? King did I call thee? No, thou art not king, Not fit to govern and rule multitudes..." before addressing Queen Margaret in terms still stronger: "O blood-besotted Neopolitan,/Outcast of Naples, England's bloody scourge!" The two Richards, father and son together, reveal in their very way of speaking that they may well both - unlike the wretched encumbent - have what it takes to be a King of England in those dark times. York remarks, in words which look forward to the later machinations of his son Richard as King, that "My brain, more busy than the labouring spider,/Weaves tedious snares to trap mine enemies". In York's soliloquies, however, the poetry sometimes rises above the swamp of evil that the actions on stage continually present to us. One does not perhaps need to have Yorkshire blood coursing through one's veins in order to enjoy this: "Then will I raise aloft the milk-white rose, With whose sweet smell the air shall be perfum'd, And in my standard bear the arms of York To grapple with the house of Lancaster; And force perforce, I'll make him yield the crown, Whose bookish rule hath pull'd fair England down." This might be contrasted with Henry's vapid and pathetic "Come, wife, let's in, and learn to govern better,/For yet may England curse my wretched reign."

14. In the penultimate scene of the play, King Henry VI was murdered. To whom did Shakespeare ascribe this final act of bloodshed?

From Quiz Henry VI, Part 3

Answer: Richard, Duke of Gloucester

In the play, Richard, Duke of Gloucester - the future King Richard III - rushed from the scene of the Battle of Tewkesbury to return to the Tower of London and dispose of the imprisoned King Henry VI. In reality the death of King Henry VI remains shrouded in mystery, however Shakespeare's Henry lamented the fate of both himself and his son and prophesised that Richard would go on to cause much more bloodshed, death and pain in the future: "And many an old man's sigh and many a widow's, And many an orphan's water-standing eye - Men for their sons, wives for their husbands, And orphans for their parents timeless death - Shall rue the hour that ever thou wast born". The play closed with the future of King Edward, his wife Queen Elizabeth and their baby son looking bright and prosperous, aside from the malevolent presence of Richard, carefully watching for an opportunity to seize power - a story that Shakespeare went on to address in the play 'Richard III'.

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