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Henry VI, Part 1

di William Shakespeare, Thomas Nashe

Altri autori: Vedi la sezione altri autori.

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8881917,993 (3.36)76
Traces the personal and political fortunes of King Henry VI, from the time of his childhood to youth and marriage to the beautiful but ruthless Margaret of Anjou, and through the power struggles of his subjects the Yorkists and Lancastrians, ending with the growing influence of sinister Richard, Duke of Gloucester.… (altro)
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Great play. I am not one who loves all Shakespeare (especially the histories) but this one is very accessible. The language isn't too arcane plus it involves historical events that many will recognize (Joan of Arc, the War of the Roses, the 100 Years War etc.)

Read as part of my Kindle edition of "The Complete Works of Shakespeare" ( )
  leslie.98 | Jan 22, 2021 |
The first of three plays about the reign of Henry VI of England shows conflict between the English and the French, and within the English ranks. Joan of Arc is on the side of the French cause, and the English can’t believe a woman is capable of fighting, so they have to resort to misogyny to feel superior. Richard Plantagenet (the Duke of York) and Somerset, meanwhile, have squared off against each other, each picking white and red roses to symbolize their respective factions.

This is a surprisingly slim and action-packed play for a history play. Lots of rapid scenes, changes in location, running around and shouting, and occasional death scenes. It is nice to see Joan fighting, but not to see the English casting aspersions on her sex life. The portrayals of the French in general are designed to make the English look superior, which likely reflects the target audience. For this 21st-century audience, reading this makes me want to find more authoritative, less propagandist sources, particularly for the story of Joan of Arc. Nevertheless, I will read the other two plays in the trilogy. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Jan 16, 2021 |
For a play about Henry VI, he was barely even in it! There is quite a bit of jockeying for power that is easy to forget if you do not read this in one setting (and I did not). The first half is a bit lacking, but the back half is better. Joan of Arc (de Pucelle in the play) intrigued me, especially with her proclamations. Is she prophetic or deluded? The end is a fascinating cliffhanger, however, with hints that the move Henry is making will indeed be a bad one.

It seems as if both Shakespeare and George R.R. Martin drew inspiration from history for their work, and I am curious to see how Shakespeare pulls me into the royal drama. On to Part II! ( )
  DrFuriosa | Dec 4, 2020 |
A very good - although unabashedly idiosyncratic - approach to one of the more challenging plays in the Shakespeare canon. ( )
  therebelprince | Nov 15, 2020 |
The first part of a tetralogy consisting of Henry VI parts 2 and 3 and Richard III. Critics agree it was one of the earliest of Shakespeare's plays and was performed in 1592, but they do not agree that it was the first play written of the tetralogy. Some critics claim that part 2 was written first closely followed by part 3 and then part1 and so I have read them in that order. There are no very famous lines from the play and it is the only one of the plays that I have read that does not have that "stand alone" feeling: it feels more obviously part of a series. It is a historical drama which does not aim to subvert the known facts, but does play havoc with the time line for dramatic effect.

The play starts with the funeral of Henry V. England is in mourning and the nobility are already arguing amongst themselves. The new king Henry VI has not reached the age of majority and does not yet appear in the play. Messengers arrive to interrupt the pageantry and the news is bad. Henry V's conquests in France are already falling apart and Talbot the warrior knight and scourge of the French has been captured. The Duke of Bedford the regent of France says he will take 10,000 troops across the channel. The scene shifts to France who has found a new military leader - the peasant girl Joan of Arc. Back in England the disorder amongst the nobility grows worse The young kings protector the Duke of Gloucester finds himself locked out of the Tower of London by the Bishop of Winchester and the first of many fighting scenes is the English fighting amongst themselves. Back in France Talbot has escaped, but his attempts to regain the conquered territories are meeting with fierce resistance from the French led by the young Dauphin Charles and Joan Purcelle (Joan of Arc). In England the new king is crowned, but in the famous Temple garden scene the nobility choose their sides in the coming power struggle by selecting a red or white rose. Henry VI and his entourage travel to Paris where he will be crowned again as king of France, meanwhile Talbot is still involved in a see-saw struggle of arms with Joan and the French, but he attends the coronation and there are glimmers of unity, but Richard Plantagenet the Duke of York has been instructed by old Mortimer that he has a legitimate claim to the throne. Talbot is soon back in arms and the fighting continues, he and his son are slaughtered outside Bordeaux, but the Duke of York who failed to provide the necessary support for him has captured Joan of Arc outside Rouen. He instructs that she be burnt at the stake as a witch. A truce is brokered and as part of the agreement the Duke of Suffolk has arranged for Margaret of Anjou to be the young king Henry's bride. The play ends with Margaret arriving in London, but already being wooed by Suffolk himself.

There is a lot of fighting: a continuous display of arms seems to take up the first three quarters of the play, all is bravado and derring-do and ends with the tragedy on the battlefield of the death of Talbot and his son. Then suddenly there is a truce and the play switches to a more romantic mode as Suffolk intrigues to get Margaret of Anjou wedded to the young king. On a first reading the play seems unbalanced and this readers attention was taken up by trying to work out who was fighting who and where, but it became clearer on a second read through. The play does have a logic to it and events follow each other as the play makes its dramatic points. The most obvious theme is the disunity caused by a king who has not reached the age of majority and of a disputed right of accession. Another is the end of chivalry, the French are being led by a female peasant for goodness sake and Talbot who is of the old school is mortally offended and says:

"My thoughts are whirled like a Potters Wheele,
I know not where I am, nor what I doe:
A Witch by feare, not force, like Hannibal,
Driues back our troupes, and conquers as she lists............

Seignior hang: base Muleters of France,
Like Pesant foot-Boyes doe they keepe the Walls,
And dare not take vp Armes, like Gentlemen


Joan is burnt as a witch and is treated with disdain by the Duke of York. Sir John Falstaff who runs away from battle is publicly stripped of his royal garter by Talbot who then lectures his fellow nobles on the significance of being awarded the order.

Shakespeare is setting the scene in this play for his depiction of the wars of the roses and the descent of England into chaos. The English are fighting amongst themselves and the French change sides when it suits them, this changing of allegiance will soon cross the channel and become a feature of part 2 of the tetralogy. The characters that will populate the later plays start to emerge. The fiercely proud Duke of York, the peace-loving King Henry VI whose courtiers snigger at his naiveté behind the scenes. The old protector the Duke of Gloucester who sees his control slipping away and the entrance of Margaret of Anjou who Suffolk thinks he can manipulate, but will find that it is he who is being played. The BBC produced plays of this series has kept the same actors in their roles as the events move on, that is of course until they meet their end, this process is started by Talbot and son in this play and will accelerate until the bloodbath in part 3. Shakespeare does repeat scenes in this: one of his earliest plays and although the language is recognisably Shakespearian it never rises to the heights of his subsequent efforts. His play does however fit together quite well and with its rousing battle scenes would have provided entertainment for its Elizabethan audience.

It has been produced a number of times on the modern stage and most successfully when it is followed by the other plays in the series. The poignant scene of the deaths of Talbot and his son John may have been Shakespeare's first tilt at tragedy:

Come, come, and lay him in his Fathers armes,
My spirit can no longer beare these harmes.
Souldiers adieu: I haue what I would haue,
Now my old armes are yong Iohn Talbots graue.


I suppose it has to be said that this early play is one for Shakespeare completists, but if you are going to read the more substantial King Henry VI parts 2 and 3 then it would be amiss to leave out this one 3.5 stars. ( )
2 vota baswood | Aug 8, 2020 |
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» Aggiungi altri autori (36 potenziali)

Nome dell'autoreRuoloTipo di autoreOpera?Stato
Shakespeare, Williamautore primariotutte le edizioniconfermato
Nashe, Thomasautore principaletutte le edizioniconfermato
Brissaud, PierreIllustratoreautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
Brooke, C. F. TuckerA cura diautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
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Traces the personal and political fortunes of King Henry VI, from the time of his childhood to youth and marriage to the beautiful but ruthless Margaret of Anjou, and through the power struggles of his subjects the Yorkists and Lancastrians, ending with the growing influence of sinister Richard, Duke of Gloucester.

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Penguin Australia

2 edizioni di questo libro sono state pubblicate da Penguin Australia.

Edizioni: 0140714650, 014101749X

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