For the first half of The First Part of Henry the Sixth the main interpersonal conflict is between Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester and Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester. As noted earlier in the month, the two are related, and their quarrel is over who shall have access to and control over the young king. And while Winchester’s attacks are mostly on religious (“vizier” [I.iv.29]) and political (“most usurping proditor” [I.iv.31]) grounds, Gloucester’s responses are much more earthly and sexual.
Continue reading Gloucester vs. Winchester: Sexual Mudslinging
In performance, Act One, Scene Three of The First Part of Henry the Sixth is crucial; it’s the first scene that drives the plot forward and does not depend on its expository nature (the funeral of Henry V, news from France; the French nobles prepare for the assault). Here, we see the first French defeat of the play (in a play filled with battlefield momentum swings), and we have the introduction of one of the main characters of the play: Joan la Pucelle.
The question, then, is how do we play the scene?
Continue reading Act One, Scene Three: The Play(-ing)’s the Thing…
Hitting a mental roadblock today… not sure what to write about. (of course, it doesn’t help, not one bit, that I’ve got a sore throat, and my enthusiasm for writing today is only slightly higher than my enthusiasm for work)
So, I’m going to do what I always do when these things happen: Punt.
Continue reading Mental Roadblock
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 8:43 — 4.1MB)
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This week’s podcast includes a DVD review for The First Part of Henry the Sixth, plus a recap of this week’s blog entries.
1:06 — text should be “November” instead of “December”
Continue reading Podcast 15: The First Part of Henry the Sixth DVD Review
No, it’s not a production… it’s kinda even better.
The Clark Library of UCLA (my alma mater and the best damn university in the world [OK, so I’m a *LITTLE* biased!]) is about to receive a $2 million collection of 72 books related to Shakespeare. The Library, which I’m chagrined to say I’ve never heard of, is located off-campus in the West Adams area (for those of you who know LA), and houses a number of rare books.
Continue reading Shakespeare Comes to UCLA (my alma mater!)
As we mentioned yesterday in our discussion of historical inaccuracies in The First Part of Henry the Sixth, the term “the War of the Roses” became popular only in the nineteenth century after its use in Sir Walter Scott’s Anne of Geierstein, or The Maiden of the Mist (1829); the phrase is said to be have been based on the Rose Briar scene (Act Two, Scene Five) of 1HenryVI, in which Plantagenet and Somerset ask their followers to show their allegiance by their choice of flowers (white for the followers of York, red for Lancaster).
Continue reading The War of the Roses
For the last few days, we’ve been loading up on timelines, both historical and military, of the events that took place during the time period covered in The First Part of Henry the Sixth. Today, let’s see how those factual events mesh (and more importantly don’t mesh) with what’s in the play.
Continue reading Henry the Sixth is History: Not So Much (or: Historical Inaccuracies)
Here’s a rough assemblage of dates/events of military importance to The First Part of Henry the Sixth…
Tomorrow, we’ll play a game of mix-and-match with the events from this timeline (as well as yesterday‘s) and the major plot points in the play.
Continue reading Henry the Sixth is History: Military Timeline
Here’s a rough assemblage of dates/events of historical importance to The First Part of Henry the Sixth… we’ll hit the military stuff tomorrow.
Continue reading Henry the Sixth is History: Historical Timeline
According to most critics, the source material for most of Shakespeare’s histories (including The First Part of Henry the Sixth) was Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland. Holinshed was only one of a three main authors of the work (the other two being William Harrison and Richard Stanyhurst), and their work was first printed in 1577, about fifteen years before the composition of 1HenryVI.
Continue reading Sources
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 29:51 — 13.8MB)
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This week’s podcast includes an introduction to and a plot synopsis for The First Part of Henry the Sixth, plus a recap of this week’s blog entries.
17:46 — Text should be “English retake the city” instead of “French retake the city”
Continue reading Podcast 14: The First Part of Henry the Sixth Introduction
Was Henry at this point too young to read? We’ll take a look a chronological time later in the month…
Act Five of The First Part of Henry the Sixth begins with Henry asking Gloucester if the Lord Protector has read the letters from the pope and the Earl of Armagnac. The letters request that Henry end his military excursion into France and to enter a time of peace. Henry agrees that this makes sense.
Continue reading Act Five
Act Four, Scene One of The First Part of Henry the Sixth begins with Henry’s coronation on French soil. Before Gloucester can secure an oath of loyalty from the Governor of Paris, however, Sir John Fastolf (not Falstaff) arrives with a letter from Burgundy. The mere presence of Fastolf (a man widely regarded–within the play–as a coward) enrages Talbot so that he tears the badge of the Order of Garter off Fastolf. After both Talbot and Gloucester berate Fastolf, King Henry banishes him from England “on pain of death” (IV.i.47).
Continue reading Act Four
Get yer roses here, folks. Can’t tell your characters without roses!
Act Three of The First Part of Henry the Sixth begins with a meeting of the English nobles, including — for the first time in the play — our title character, the “young King Henry” (III.i.1 s.d.). Exeter, Gloucester, and Winchester are in attendance, as are Somerset and Suffolk (with red roses), and Warwick and Richard Plantagenet (with white roses).
Continue reading Act Three
According to critics, Act Two, Scene Four of The first Part of Henry the Sixth is pure Shakespeare, with no credit afforded to Holinshed or his Chronicles (and more on those in a later post). It’s a talky scene, as befits a discourse between young aristocratic lawyers. The scene is set in a “rose briar” (II.iv.1 s.d.), and here members of the two quarreling factions meet. Not the Gloucester/Winchester factions; those factions seem to be more concerned with who shall have control over young King Henry. No, these factions’ quarrel is over who should be king in the first place.
Continue reading Act Two, Scenes Four and Five