->''Small curs are not regarded when they grin;''
->''But great men tremble when the lion roars;''
->--'''Queen Margaret''', III.i
A history play by Creator/WilliamShakespeare, ''Henry VI Part 2'' is the second of three plays describing the end of UsefulNotes/TheHundredYearsWar and the outbreak of the UsefulNotes/WarsOfTheRoses. In this installment, King Theatre/HenryVI meets his manipulative wife Margaret; the trusted Duke of Gloucester is assassinated; the people stage a rebellion; and Richard, Duke of York, plots to take control of the throne. The other plays in the series are ''Theatre/HenryVIPart1'' and ''Theatre/HenryVIPart3''.
We begin with the marriage of Henry to Margaret -- however, Suffolk's plan to dominate the King may be scuppered by the Duke of Gloucester: popular, honest and trusted by the king. He conspires with other members of the court to disgrace and then murder Gloucester, but is himself exiled and killed for the crime.
Meanwhile, the Duke of York stakes his claim to the throne (which is at least as good as Henry's), and the Dukes of Salisbury and Warwick pledge their support. York is given the command of a Royal Army to suppress a rebellion in Ireland, but before he embarks, he arranges a rebellion against the crown by a former officer of his, Jack Cade. (This is the context of Dick the Butcher's immortal line, "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers!") Cade claims to be descended from the same line as York -- this will test the public's reaction to the claim, and also provide York with an excuse to return to England at the head of an army.
Cade captures London, but proves himself to be a tyrant and Lord Clifford is able to persuade the commoners to abandon him in favour of King Henry. York returns with his army and, finding his thunder stolen by Clifford, declares that he wishes to protect the King from the treachery of Lord Somerset. When Henry rejects this, York openly declares his claim to the throne and, supported by his sons Edward and Richard, fights and wins a battle against the Royal forces. England's nobility choose sides as the King flees alongside Margaret and Young Clifford, whose father was killed in the battle.
!!This play provides examples of:
* AntiHero: Many. Not many real heroes.
* TheButcher: Dick the Butcher, whose title is a pun
* CassandraTruth: Several people, including the witch Margery Jourdain.
* AChildShallLeadThem: Henry mentions he was crowned at nine months old. Averted in that it's made clear that the ensuing power vacuum caused incredible civil strife.
* TheClan: Several, but especially the House of York.
* DecapitationPresentation: There are lots of disembodied heads floating around in this play, and although this action is not mentioned explicitly in the stage directions many directors do it anyway, 'cause it looks [[strike:awesome]] terrifying.
* DecoyLeader: Cade, who is standing in for Richard of York
* EveryoneIsRelated: Expected, given that almost every major character is of noble blood and there's not ''that'' much to go around.
* EvilLawyerJoke: Cade's declaration in Part II that "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."
* FeudingFamilies: York and Lancaster.
* FinishingEachOthersSentences: One performance of part 2 has the pirates finish Suffolk's last speech.
* GodSaveUsFromTheQueen: Margaret is quite happy to go into battle in place of her husband (in ''Part 3'', she personally supervises the death of Richard of York).
* HandicappedBadass: Richard Gloucester's pretty good in battle, in spite of his crooked back, gimp arm, and short leg.
** Let's not even talk about the fact that historically, he would only have been 2 1/2 years old at the time of the Battle of St. Albans... Look at that toddler swing that battleaxe!
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: Jack Cade. He was not this much of a buffoon and manipulator, or deceiver (he did take the Mortimer name, but only to express solidarity). If anybody deserved vilification, it was Lord Say.
* MeaningfulName: The rebel Jack Cade is killed, restoring peace, in a garden by a bloke called Alexander Eden.
** Actually Alexander Iden, which was the name of the real man who killed Jack Cade.
* NonActionGuy: Henry VI, a bookish and pious ruler when England really needed a strong warrior.
* ObfuscatingDisability: Humphrey Gloucester proves that a man who claims to have been divinely cured of blindness is a charlatan.
* PersecutedIntellectuals: Dick TheButcher's line "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers" can be interpreted as a standard EvilLawyerJoke; however, the [[http://www.nytimes.com/1990/06/17/nyregion/l-kill-the-lawyers-a-line-misinterpreted-599990.html implication]] is that without lawyers, there would be nobody who knows any law to get in the way of Jack Cade's autocratic rule.
* ProphecyTwist: All three prophecies by Margaret Jourdain's evil spirit.
* SarcasticDevotee: Dick the Butcher, who counters every statement Cade makes with a joke, but is still the greatest fighter in his rebellion
* SinisterMinister: The Bishop of Winchester, later Cardinal of Winchester, is half brother to the Duke of Gloucester and openly wars with him for control of the crown.
* StartOfDarkness: Richard Gloucester, on his way to becoming Richard III.
* TurnCoat: Warwick once.