William Shakespeare's King Henry VI, part I in the complete original text.
William Shakespeare's plays, sonnets and poems at AbsoluteShakespeare.com
Home Plays Sonnets Poems Quotes Summaries Essays Glossary Links Help

HOME > Plays > First Part of King Henry the Sixth

First Part of King Henry the Sixth

Study Guides
Julius Caesar
King Henry IV
King Lear
Merchant of Venice
Romeo and Juliet
The Tempest
Twelfth Night

Bard Facts
Globe Theatre

King Henry VI, Part I Play

King Henry VI, Part One begins with a young King Henry VI ruling England with Gloucester as Lord Protector of the young regent. There is tension in England, Gloucester accusing the church of attempting to manipulate his charge. Unfortunately the Dauphin of France, Charles has declared himself King and is rebelling against the English. The English Lord Talbot has been taken prisoner and the English army, no longer strong is edging ever closer to mutiny...

In France, Charles loses a battle to Salisbury, freeing Talbot but Charles meets a virgin prophetess seemingly supported by the will of God, Joan la Pucelle (Joan of Arc), whom he wants to marry... Whilst surveying the enemy, a stray cannonball kills Salisbury, Talbot swearing his friend will be avenged... Meanwhile, encouraged by the adventures of Joan of Arc who has now joined forces with Charles, the French attack the English led by Talbot at Orleans, nearly pushing them into the sea until Talbot recaptures Orleans in a surprise night attack, Joan of Arc and Charles escaping.

In England, Winchester refuses Gloucester access his charge, holding Gloucester prisoner in the Tower of London. Meanwhile, a dangerous rift begins in England when the Duke of Somerset accuses Richard Plantagenet of not having good standing since Plantagenet's father, Richard, The Earl Of Cambridge was executed by Henry V for treason... To settle this, they ask others to show support either by picking a red rose to support Somerset's position or a white rose to support Richard Plantagenet's view, this later devolving into the famous War of the Roses. Plantagenet asks for advise from Edmund Mortimer, who has been jailed in the Tower of London by Henry IV since he was a threat to his title. Mortimer makes Richard his heir before passing away, Plantagenet becoming convinced that the Throne of England should therefore be in Richard's hands not the young King Henry's. Winchester and Gloucester finally stop bickering, King Henry VI making Richard Plantagenet the Third Duke of York.

Meanwhile Joan of Arc continues to fight the English, the English being pushed out of Rouen only to win it back in a counterattack. Talbot and the Duke of Burgundy oversee preparations for the coronation of King Henry IV, to be held in Paris. Whilst heading for Paris, Joan of Arc convinces the Duke of Burgundy to fight with the French. Talbot, not at all impressed, prepares to fight his former brother in arms. To strengthen the English army, King Henry VI, sends Richard and the Duke of Somerset to reinforce Talbot's army. Unfortunately the two rivals continue to bicker, delaying much needed reinforcements from arriving. York needs Somerset's horses to send men to the battle; Somerset refuses to help... Alone, without Richard and Somerset, Talbot valiantly fights on, dying on the battlefield when his promised reinforcements never arrive... Finally, Richard and Somerset rise above their differences to capture Joan of Arc who is promptly burned at the stake. In an attempt to creater a lasting peace, Gloucester tries to marry King Henry to Margaret, a French Lord's daughter. Winchester, now even more powerful as Cardinal becomes ever more determined to reduce Gloucester's influence over King Henry.... The Earl of Suffolk, however has other ideas, introducing King Henry VI to Margaret of Anjou in the hopes the two will marry. The Earl intends to control Henry through this girl...


Dramatis Personæ

Act I
Scene I, Scene II, Scene III, Scene IV, Scene V, Scene VI

Act II
Scene I, Scene II, Scene III, Scene IV, Scene V

Scene I, Scene II, Scene III, Scene IV, Scene V, Scene VI

Act IV
Scene I, Scene II, Scene III, Scene IV, Scene V, Scene VI, Scene VII

Act V
Scene I, Scene II, Scene III, Scene IV, Scene V

Copyright 2000-2005 AbsoluteShakespeare.com. All rights reserved.  Contact Us  Privacy  Awards