->''Why, what is pomp, rule, reign, but earth and dust?''
->''And, live we how we can, yet die we must.''
A history play by Creator/WilliamShakespeare, ''HenryVIPart3'' is the last of three plays describing the end of the HundredYearsWar and the outbreak of the UsefulNotes/WarsOfTheRoses. In the final chapter of the trilogy, the houses of Lancaster and York wage bloody war against each other until one is victorious. The play also sets up conflicts and characters for ''Theatre/RichardIII''.
The play opens with a face-off between York and Henry and their respective supporters. Henry gives in to the Yorkist threats and agrees a deal: York will inherit the throne on the natural death of Henry. Disgusted with the King's cowardice, Margaret and his other supporters continue the war on their own, defeating the Yorkists in battle. York's youngest son, Rutland, is murdered by Young Clifford and York captured, taunted with the death of his son, and then executed.
The Earl of Warwick, now the senior military figure in the Yorkist cause, continues the fight on behalf of York's son Edward. His younger brother Richard is now also joined by the middle son, George, at the head of reinforcements from France. Between them, they defeat Margaret and the Lancastrians and Edward is proclaimed King Edward IV, with Richard and George being made dukes of Gloucester and Clarence respectively.
Edward takes a fancy to Elizabeth Woodville and marries her quickly -- outraging Warwick, who was in the middle of negotiating a political marriage with a French princess. Warwick switches sides, joining the Lancastrian cause, and George of Clarence petulantly goes with him. The tide swings the other way once more -- Edward is captured, Henry restored. But Edward is rescued and kills Warwick in battle, before Clarence repents and rejoins his brothers. In the final battle, Edward kills Henry's son and captures Margaret, while Richard sneaks off to murder Henry VI and remove any further complications.
As the trilogy ends, things are looking rosy for the House of York -- the Lancastrian cause seems dead and gone, and there is a new heir to the throne -- young Edward. As Richard of Gloucester, the King's brother, summarises it at the start of the next play -- "Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this sun of York". That's right, folks -- he's going to become Theatre/RichardIII very soon and we all know how that turned out...
!!This play provides examples of:
* AbdicateTheThrone: Forced.
* AntiHero: Many. Not many real heroes.
* BecauseDestinySaysSo: Richard of Gloucester morphs into TheStarscream and TheBrute of the Yorkist faction in part because he literally seems born for it, misshapen and disfigured but still a twisted and cunning strategist and soldier. Henry VI testifies to numerous bad omens on Richard's birth and knows he's going to die the second Richard gets them alone.
* TheClan: Several, but especially the House of York.
* ColourCodedForYourConvenience: The Yorkists wear white roses, the Lancastrians red. Quite often this is extended to general costume colour-coding as well.
* 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.
* EveryoneIsRelated: Expected, given that almost every major character is of noble blood and there's not ''that'' much to go around.
* FeudingFamilies: York and Lancaster.
* GodSaveUsFromTheQueen: Margaret stabs the captive York after taunting him with Clifford's murder of the youngest York boy, Rutland. He's only a kid!
* HandicappedBadass: Richard's pretty good in battle, in spite of his crooked back, gimp arm, and short leg.
* IJustWantToBeNormal: HenryVI, sitting on his little hill in the middle of a battlefield, delivers speech about how he would have liked to be born a simple man.
-->''O God! methinks it were a happy life,''
-->''To be no better than a homely swain;''
-->''To sit upon a hill, as I do now,''
-->''To carve out dials quaintly, point by point,''
-->''Thereby to see the minutes how they run,''
-->''How many make the hour full complete;''
* MamaBear: Margaret, over her son's death.
* ManipulativeBastard: Richard has yet to start pulling his tricks on his oldest brother Edward but has already made the middle brother George his loyal ally and future victim.
* MotiveRant: Richard of Gloucester gets a few that foreshadow his opening monologue in RichardIII.
* NonActionGuy: Henry VI, a bookish and pious ruler when England really needed a strong warrior.
* TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou: Richard, when pursuing Young Clifford.
* PetTheDog: Richard, despite all his crimes later on and continuing in his own play, is genuinely outraged by the deaths of his father and brother and is determined to kill their murderer.
* RegentForLife: Henry VI agrees to make Richard of York his heir if he, Henry, is allowed to finish his reign.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: Young Clifford, Margaret, the York brothers - in fact, nearly everybody.
* StartOfDarkness: Richard Duke of Gloucester, on his way to becoming Richard III.
* TurnCoat: Across the trilogy, Warwick once, Burgundy once, Clarence twice.
** Also lampshaded by Joan of Arc in Part One, when the [[CheeseEatingSurrenderMonkeys Duke of Burgundy]] wavered between the French and English sides.
--> "Done like a Frenchman: turn, and turn again!"
* WelcomeBackTraitor: Clarence -- though it doesn't take much to persuade his brother Richard to murder him in the next play...