Henry VI, Part 1: Act IV

Seven short scenes detailing the fall of a great English family...and some quarrelling. Key words, people, and phrases Swain: person of low birth Carping: to cavil, to find fault, to mock Pale: enclosure Espials: spies Succour: aid or auxiliary troops Long: fault Spleen: fire, heat, impetuosity, eagerness Mickle: much, great Boot: profit, advantage Lither: soft, pliant Giglot wench: lewd... Continue Reading →

Henry VI Part 1: Act II, scenes 4-5

Next we see a creative - and somewhat on the nose - portrayal of the start of the War of the Roses, a bloody fight for the throne that would last for decades. I will post about the complex family relationships that fueled the War in a blog tomorrow, but for now we will see... Continue Reading →

Henry VI, Part 1: Act 1, Scenes 4-6

Scene 4 “Father I know, I have oft shot at them,             Howe’er unfortunate, I miss’d my aim” We return to Orleans, where the master gunner is turning over control of his cannon to his son. That gun is trained on a specific gate because he “discovered Salisbury’s habitual use of that gate.” (Asimov, 536)... Continue Reading →

Henry VI, Part One, Act 1, Scene 3

In today’s episode of Gloucester and Winchester hate each other, we go to the Tower… Key Words and Phrases Conveyance: dishonest practices Brook: bear or endure Proditor: traitor Beard: to set at defiance; or facial hair, depending on context Summary Gloucester head to the tower because he suspects some shenanigans are afoot. His suspicions are... Continue Reading →

Henry VI, Part 1, Act 1, Scene 2

Today we continue with Act 2 of Henry VI, Part 1. This scene takes us into France to meet the opposition, including Joan of Arc. Let’s just say Shakespeare isn’t super nice to Joan for two reasons: she was a French heroine and a Catholic one. Joan wouldn’t be made a saint until the 1920’s,... Continue Reading →

Henry VI, Part One, Act 1, Scene 1

And so we begin with Henry VI, Part One. As a history play, there is a lot to unpack in nearly every scene. An element of historical truth is feeding the narrative, and how Shakespeare and his audience perceived that history (or would like to perceive that history) will color the story. This play in... Continue Reading →

Introduction to Henry VI Part 1

Henry VI Parts 1, 2, and 3 were all written within the same year, 1592, and saw great box office success for the time. It was performed six times in fifteen months. This is the first of what is know as the History Plays to be written. These plays were based on the real-life stories... Continue Reading →

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