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Henry VI, Part 1 by William Shakespeare

Henry VI, Part 1

by William Shakespeare, Thomas Nashe (Author), William Shakespeare

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: First Tetralogy (1), Shakespeare's Histories (7)

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This play dramatizes the conflict between England and France from the death of King Henry V up to the beginning of the War of the Roses. I'm not going to go into any more plot detail than that because the whole thing gets rather convoluted. This is only the second of Shakespeare's history plays that I've read (the first being Julius Caesar, which I loved), and I really liked it. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
Simply awful. Very much had the feel of being thrown together which, appropriately enough, seems to have been the case. An afterthought prequel to Parts II and III. The caricature of Joan of Arc was outrageous. Even if one believed she was a lunatic, it was a bit over the top. ( )
  AliceAnna | Oct 19, 2014 |
William Shakespeare's "Henry VI, part one" certainly doesn't live up to the bard's later historical plays. The Henry VI series was apparently one of his first plays and it shows -- the language lacks sparkle and the writing seems a little flat.

That said, I enjoyed it more than I expected to, mostly due to Joan of Arc, who is given an interesting yet fiercely anti-French portrayal as you'd expect from an Elizabethan playwright.

The story starts with the unexpected death of Henry V, who leaves an infant as his heir. Powerful lords fight in the War of the Roses for control all while England and France remain at war.

I'm interested to find out what happens in parts two and three. ( )
  amerynth | May 19, 2014 |
This is a confusing play, where BIG Bill follows a principal source, and then fits in some humanizing bits. It seems WS didn't write all of it, and the group of scenarists had some fights before production.
Henry V being quite unexpectedly dead, the nobles of England attempt to bring the war in France to a successful conclusion. Joan of Arc, who is seriously defamed in the play, appears and re-animates the French defence. The losing English nobles fall to quarrelling with each other, and we are worried about what will happen next. The play ends with Joan's execution, and the proposal of peace by the marriage of Henry VI, to Margaret a French lady the daughter of the Titular King of Jerusalem, a title with no territory to go with it. I think it's a hint that Henry will always go for form over substance, and the land will suffer for it.
This play is recorded as being produced in 1592, and it's very early WS. it seems I've been over nine times, looking for good bits. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Nov 28, 2013 |
The three plays that make up the Henry VI cycle are believed to be some of Shakespeare's very first plays. They certainly read as apprentice works, and are often neglected in favour of the more comical and dramatically assured plays Henry IV and Henry V. However, the Henry VI plays dramatise the inauspicious history of Henry V's son, Henry VI, who is only nine months old when his father dies. The play deals with the factions at court who quarrel for political control, led by the Duke of Gloucester and the Cardinal of Winchester. As political intrigue divides the English court, its army continues to fight in France in a desperate attempt to hold on to the gains made by Henry V, whose tradition is upheld by the ferocious figure of Lord Talbot, pitched against La Pucelle, better known as Joan of Arc. An uneasy peace is finally established following the execution of Joan and marriage of Henry VI to the French princess Margaret of Anjou. However, Margaret is revealed to be having an affair with the Earl of Suffolk, and it becomes clear that Henry's troubles are far from over. Criticised for their somewhat crude characterisation (especially in its portrayal of women), all three of the Henry VI plays remain fascinating as early examples of Shakespeare's dramatisation of English history. --Jerry Brotton
  Roger_Scoppie | Apr 3, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (44 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Shakespeareprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nashe, ThomasAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Shakespeare, Williammain authorall editionsconfirmed
Brissaud, PierreIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brooke, C. F. TuckerEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Hung be the heavens with black, yield day to night!

Comets, importing change of times and states,

Brandish your crystal tresses in the sky,

And with them scourge the bad revolting stars

That have consented unto Henry's death!

King Henry the Fifth, too famous to live long!

England ne'er lost a king of so much worth.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140714650, Paperback)

"I feel that I have spent half my career with one or another Pelican Shakespeare in my back pocket. Convenience, however, is the least important aspect of the new Pelican Shakespeare series. Here is an elegant and clear text for either the study or the rehearsal room, notes where you need them and the distinguished scholarship of the general editors, Stephen Orgel and A. R. Braunmuller who understand that these are plays for performance as well as great texts for contemplation." (Patrick Stewart)

The distinguished Pelican Shakespeare series, which has sold more than four million copies, is now completely revised and repackaged.

Each volume features:
* Authoritative, reliable texts
* High quality introductions and notes
* New, more readable trade trim size
* An essay on the theatrical world of Shakespeare and essays on Shakespeare's life and the selection of texts

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:50 -0400)

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"The all-conquering King Henry V is dead and the throne is occupied by his infant son, Henry VI. The good Duke Humphrey of Gloucester has been appointed Protector, but a struggle for power soon develops between the young King's Lancastrian relatives and the powerful house of York under Richard Plantagenet."--Container.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140714650, 014101749X

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