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185. Civil Unrest in Shakespeare’s Henry VI

Shakespeare’s King Henry VI teaches us what the costs of civil unrest can be. Furthermore, it shows us how tensions rise and reach a boiling point that cannot be reversed. So, have we reached that point? I don’t think that’s the case, but we are not charting a good course. In this episode, we’ll see what we can glean from this fictionalized account of actual history.

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Why We Shouldn’t Want Civil Unrest

Far too many people are welcoming or cheering for civil unrest, but I find its possibility frightening. I don’t think the people hoping for violence know what that really means, which is likely why they are not afraid of it. Throughout history, however, we have seen the ravages of war and insurrection. And when we do, it rarely turns out for the better, but even if it does, it comes at great cost. Instead, we should seek peaceful means of reconciling differences and working within our constitutional framework. In King Henry VI, Shakespeare demonstrates the cost of rebellion and insurrection by telling the story of one that really happened.

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What Henry VI Teaches us about Civil Unrest

After my conversation with Kenny at the APH Podcast, I was thinking a lot about how well we’ve been able to maintain our republic and peacefully transition power. This is a great thing for everyone involved because peace breeds prosperity and many other goods.

This story came to mind as I was looking for a book to review because it demonstrates what happens when we ignore early signs of civil unrest. Furthermore, it shows the actions that lead to the bloodshed I fear. What you’ll find in this story is that you can turn back from early signs of unrest. Sadly, at some point the violence becomes inevitable and bursts forth. To reiterate, I don’t think we’re at that point. That said, we ought to be wary of our actions and tread lightly. These three plays show us how the unrest builds, what happens when leaders fail to contain it, and the bloodshed that ensues. For these reasons, I recommend you read this for yourself.

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