Review: Henry VI, Part 1

Henry VI, Part 1
Henry VI, Part 1 by William Shakespeare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Tis much when sceptres are in children’s hands; but more when envy breeds unkind division: there comes the ruin, there begins confusion.”

That quote sums up most of the plot! Henry VI is too young to rule on his own, and his advisers and lords ruin everything by bickering and fighting amongst themselves, leaving England’s armies vulnerable to the French.

I loved Talbot’s stalwart character! He is horrified to see dishonor among his fellow knights, because his own sense of honor and courage in battle is so high. He has plenty of daring speeches, and I loved the scenes between him and his son, John Talbot. (Except the rhyming couplets in those scenes were a bit awkward and even silly for the serious dramatic material.)

I loved the scene with the Countess and Talbot. Haha! I laughed so hard. Ooh, she has a mean and bitter tongue, and he just laughed in her stupid face. She changed her tune pretty quick after that. What a brilliant scene!

Joan of Arc is a wild sort of character. The French believe she is a saint. The English think she’s a witch with fiends and devils around her. I love her sassy dialogue and her quick-witted responses amongst all those menfolk. But in the end, she’s just a scared girl, saying anything in a desperate attempt to save her life. I don’t know if her character vacillates so much on purpose, because she’s crazy; or if her character is just badly organized, lacking unity in the writing. ??? Either way, she’s an interesting person.

King Henry VI, himself, struck me as a sweet little kid. He just wants everyone to get along, but he doesn’t have the experience or wisdom to control all those different factions of lords and dukes in his court. He is naive, and makes some bad decisions. He is too easily swayed by the last person who spoke. But for all that, I liked him! He has a good heart, but his circumstances are just beyond his abilities.

Love the writing! Love the action! Not my absolute fave, but still another great play from the Bard.

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