Henry VI - Part III

“I stained this napkin with the blood”

Act I, Scene IV

    Pow! Bang! Biff! What action! First one side is up, then the other. The crown changes sides at a dizzying rate. Nobles change sides at a dizzying rate. Shakespeare wrote this suite of three plays early in his career, and as poetry and subtle characterizations, it shows, but as a political adventure story these plays are hard to beat.

    Two monsters dominate this play. Margaret, one of the most hated people in English history, reaches her full powers as an evil bitch, loving nothing but her young son, and fights with the ferocity and cruelty of a tiger until his death. The other monster, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, becomes in the next history play, the ultimate of evil rulers, Richard III.

    While looking through my art library I came upon the woodcuts of Keith Henderson, a book illustrator. The strong blacks and whites seemed perfect for the dark moment when Margaret tortures the older Richard with a handkerchief stained with his youngest son’s blood. I ripped off Mr. Henderson’s style