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MonkeyNotes-Henry VI, Part 1 by William Shakespeare

Table of Contents

Conflict

Protagonist

The Protagonist of the play is the nation of England. It is
represented in the person of Lord Talbot. Talbot, with his
heroic ideals, stands for everything good and noble that the
nation holds close to its heart. The portrayal of Talbot depends
on an ideal of aristocratic conduct that is indigenous to
sixteenth-century England. The focus is on English chivalry
and all those attributes that reveal why the English have
traditionally been rulers of the French. Talbot is the last of the
great English peers who made England what it is.

Antagonists

There are two main antagonists in the play that threaten and
destroy the protagonist. Joan, who personifies all, that is evil,
treacherous and unworthy about France, is the first of these.
She is a direct contrast to the noble heroism of Talbot. She
wins, not by valor, but by deceit and witchcraft, thereby
achieving a tainted victory. The second antagonist is the rivalry
and dispute that spring up between the English noblemen and
rocks the English solidarity to its very care. It is this internal
dissension that leads to the defeat and death of Talbot. Selfish
concern for personal interest seen in the English noblemen
causes England to lose hard-won French territories. One
powerful instance of this is the marriage arrangement of Henry
VI make by Suffolk, causing the King to ignobly break off a
previous engagement and also lose Maine and Anjou in the
bargain.

Climax

From her very first appearance, Joan succeeds in leading the
French to victory against the English. But the true moment of
climax arrives when the French forces trap Talbot. Both the
antagonists contribute to his entrapment: Joan by her clever
military advice that guides the Dauphinís military maneuvers
and the factious English noblemen, York and Somerset, whose
antagonism results in the delay of aid that would have saved
Talbot from entrapment.

Outcome

Talbot dies and with his death passes away all the glory and
idealism of the great English warrior. The French succeed in
killing Talbot, aided by devious planning and the forces of evil.
Talbot was the greatest and mightiest of all English warriors.
The French feared him greatly and the English depended on
him immensely to lead them to success. With him die the
greatest terror of the French and the only hope of English
victory in France. His death takes away the advantage of the
English leaving them at an equal footing with the French. It is
this standoff, with no chance of a decisive victory for either
side that finally leads up to an agreement of peace on both
sides.

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MonkeyNotes-Henry VI, Part 1 by William Shakespeare
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