And why was I searching for King Henry the Sixth in the first place? Because I had finished the second part and honestly, didn't really understand it. I'm not the first student of Shakespeare to go running for Cliff Notes or the Internet I'm sure. For what it's worth, I don't have a problem with those things as long as they are used in tandem, not in lieu of.
My biggest problem was keeping everyone in order. With all the dukes and earls I found it exceedingly difficult to keep track of who each one was. I did grasp that just about everyone was after King Henry's throne, and that at least, made it a little easier to understand. But then, the intricacies of each plot would have remained tangled for me had it not been for some great summaries I found online- and in hindsight, those made me appreciate the play a little more.
I still don't think it was one of his better plays. At times I found the abundance of metaphors laughable. Take this particular speech by King Henry:
A wren, poison, and a serpent all within a few lines of one another? These wanton figurative forays made it so remembering the literal-that King Henry believes the Duke of Suffolk might be a murderous liar- was almost as hard as keeping all the characters in track.
"And thinks he that the chirping of a wren,
By crying comfort from a hollow breast,
Can chase away the first-conceived sound?
Hide not thy poison with such sugar'd words:
Lay not thy hands on hands on me; forbear, I say;
Their touch affrights me as a serpent's sting."
Asides from that, my only other issue was the same as I had for the first part of this play a while back: that King Henry sucks as a title character. Asides from everyone trying to get rid of him, he's a pretty dull guy (and a lousy leader to boot). If it wasn't for Queen Margaret (why are so many of Shakepeare's female characters the most interesting in the play?) and the psychopathic John Cade, I'd say the play was a complete bust. Fortunately those two made it entertaining enough to hold my (albeit confused) interest.