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King Henry VI, Part 1

William Shakespeare

Book Overview: 

Henry VI, Part 1 is a history play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1591, and set during the lifetime of King Henry VI of England. Henry VI part 2 deals with the King's inability to quell the bickering of his nobles, and the inevitability of armed conflict, and Henry VI Part 3 deals with the horrors of that conflict, Henry VI Part 1 deals with the loss of England's French territories and the political machinations leading up to the Wars of the Roses, as the English political system is torn apart by personal squabbles and petty jealousy. (Summary by Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Or we 'll burst them open, if that you come not quickly.

[Enter to the Protector at the Tower Gates Winchester and his men in tawny coats.]

How now, ambitious Humphry! what means this?

Peel'd priest, dost thou command me to be shut out?

I do, thou most usurping proditor,
And not protector, of the king or realm.

Stand back, thou manifest conspirator,
Thou that contrivedst to murder our dead lord;
Thou that givest whores indulgences to sin:
I 'll canvass thee in thy broad cardinal's hat,
If thou proceed in this thy insolence.

Nay, stand thou back; I will not budge a foot:
This be Damascus, be thou cursed Cain,
To slay thy brother Abel, if thou wilt.

I will not slay thee, but I 'll driv. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Henry VI Part 1, whether it be a genuine Part 1 or a prequel (critics differ), is nevertheless one of the first three plays Shakespeare wrote. It is a marvelously well-constructed piece of stage craft, particularly given the necessarily episodic story it has to tell, involving the three-fold narrati

What was this, really, a bunch of British Royals jumping at each other's throats, snitching and lying and plotting and in their spare time suppressing the French? Only partially written by the young Bard I reckon, something about white and red roses? So many characters with little to zero character

Henry VI starts his reign with strife and confronts the improbable heroine Joan The Pucelle (Joan of Arc) in this first of the Henry VI trilogy. It also sets the stage for the War of the Roses which will occupy the trilogy as well as Richard III which brings it to an incredibly bloody conclusion.


Henry VI, Part 1 opens right at the funeral of Henry V (the friend of Falstaff, the victor of Agincourt and the conqueror and king of France, albeit for a short time). From the first scene onward, the squabbles between the English lords — all descendants of King Edward III, therefore all relatives t

Reading these plays in parallel to a non-fiction book about the Wars of the Roses was definitely a brilliant idea. Not only does it help to entertain, it also helps to cement knowledge - although Shakespeare took quite some liberties at times.

This play, which is part 1 of 3 about King Henry

Oh goodness. I think it's time for me to be a bit annoyed, not that the play as bad in any way, because as a piece of fiction it fits its times, plays up to the prejudices of its people, makes good story out of a horribly contradictory piece of history, and blatantly evokes imagery that didn't come

In this play: death! speeches! Joan of Arc! more death! more speeches! wait, Joan of Arc!?

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