This history play was likely written in 1591. (See Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor in The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works (2nd edition, 2005).)
The play, the final one in Shakespeare’s Henry VI trilogy, is set during the War of the Roses. It examines the consequences of war, both at the individual level as families are torn apart by conflicting loyalties and the desire for vengeance, and at the national level, where the disintegration of order and authority had devastating consequences that lasted for generations.
Textual References to Dance
Text excerpts and their act, scene, and line numbers follow Folger Digital Texts unless otherwise noted.
In-text dance references are highlighted in red.
Stage directions added by modern editors are indicated by brackets [ ].
Act I, scene 4, lines 84-97
I should lament thy miserable state.
I prithee grieve to make me merry, York.
What, hath thy fiery heart so parched thine entrails
That not a tear can fall for Rutland’s death?
Why art thou patient, man? Thou shouldst be mad;
And I, to make thee mad, do mock thee thus.
Stamp, rave, and fret, that I may sing and dance.
Thou would’st be fee’d, I see, to make me sport.—
York cannot speak unless he wear a crown.
A crown for York! [She is handed a paper crown.]
And, lords, bow low to him.
Hold you his hands whilst I do set it on. [She puts the crown on York’s head.]
Ay, marry, sir, now looks he like a king.
Dance References in Henry VI, Part 3
Winerock, Emily. “Dance References in Henry VI, Part 3.” The Shakespeare and Dance Project, edited by Linda McJannet, Amy Rodgers, and Emily Winerock, 11 Dec. 2018, shakespeareandance.com/plays/henry-vi-part-3. Accessed [date].
Brissenden, Alan. “The History Plays and the Imagery of Dance.” In Shakespeare and the Dance, pp. 18-33. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1981, 2001.
Winerock, Emily. “Discourteous Courtesies and Irreverent Reverences: Rethinking the Renaissance Bow.” In Proceedings of the 2018 Dance Studies Association Annual Conference (July 5-8, 2018). Dance Studies Association, 2019.
Updated June 23, 2022.
2013-2022. All rights reserved. The Shakespeare and Dance Project.