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Henry VI (Part 1)

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

Summary of the plot or story
The story unfolds with the death of King Henry V and his young son takes the throne as Henry VI. Gloucester serves as Lord Protector to guide and advise the young monarch through his early years. Meanwhile, Joan of Arc leads France with the fight against the English. Another quarrel breaks out, this one between Richard Plantagenet, of the House of York, and the Earl of Somerset, of the House of Lancaster.

The young King intervenes and restores order and pledges his inheritance to the House of York. The king goes to Paris to be crowned there to act as an inspiration to the English whilst demoralising the French. The English capture two important prisoners, Joan of Arc and Margaret of Anjou.

Joan is burnt as witch and a heretic. King Henry, urged by the Earl of Suffolk, marries Margaret of Anjou. The play ends with a self-satisfied Suffolk believing that Margaret will rule the monarch but he will rule both of them giving power to the red rose House of Lancaster.

Information provided
William Shakespeare never published any of his plays and therefore none of the original manuscripts have survived. Eighteen unauthorised versions of his plays were, however, published during his lifetime in quarto editions by unscrupulous publishers (there were no copyright laws protecting Shakespeare and his works during the Elizabethan era). A collection of his works did not appear until 1623 ( a full seven years after Shakespeare's death on April 23, 1616) when two of his fellow actors, John Hemminges and Henry Condell, posthumously recorded his work and published 36 of Williamís plays in the First Folio. Some dates are therefore approximate other dates are substantiated by historical events, records of performances and the dates plays appeared in print.

Date first performed
It is believed that the drama was first performed between 1592 and 1593. In the Elizabethan era there was a huge demand for new entertainment and Henry VI (Part 1) would have been produced immediately following the completion of the play.

Date first printed
It is believed that the script was first printed in 1623 as part of the First Folio. As William Shakespeare clearly did not want his work published details of the play would have therefore been noted, and often pirated without his consent, following a performance.

The settings
The settings are London in England and Orleans, Auvergne, Rouen, Paris, Bordeaux in France, 

The play is categorised as a History

Number of words in Henry VI (Part 1)
The number of words in the script, according to the Complete Public Domain Text is 23,171.

Most important characters in Henry VI (Part 1)
The most important characters are:
Henry VI, Joan La Pucelle (Joan of Arc) and Suffolk.

Famous Quotes / Quotations
The quotes are amongst Shakespeare's most famous including 'Delays have dangerous ends' and 'Of all base passions, fear is the most accursed'. Details of these famous quotes follow, complete with information regarding the Act and the Scene, allowing a quick reference to the section of the play that these quotations can be found in. Please click here for the full text of the script of the play.

"Delays have dangerous ends". (Act III, Scene II). 

"Of all base passions, fear is the most accursed".
(Act V, Scene II).

The series of Henry VI plays revolve around the War of the Roses which lasted from 1455 to 1485.The war was fought between two branches of the Plantagenet family, the Houses of Lancaster and York. The War of the Roses were named after the emblems of the parties, the white rose of York and the red rose of Lancaster. 
Henry VI (Part 1) was based on real people and events taken from English history. The characters are from the royal Houses of Lancaster and York.
House of Lancaster
Henry IV ("Bolingbroke," son of the Duke of Lancaster), 1399-1413. 
Henry V (son of Henry IV), 1413-1422.
Henry VI (son of Henry V, deposed), 1422-1471. 
House of York:
Edward IV (son of duke of York), 1461-1483.
Edward V (son of Edward IV), 1483.
Richard III ("Crookback," brother of Edward IV) 1483-1485.

We recommend the following link to access facts, information, a biography and timeline of
King Henry VI

William Shakespeare's Main Source
The Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland by Raphael Holinshed

The Cast and Characters
Click the link to access a list of all the cast and characters.

Text - script of Henry VI (Part 1) play by William Shakespeare
Cast and characters in Henry VI (Part 1) play by William Shakespeare
Index of plays by William Shakespeare
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