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MonkeyNotes-Henry VI, Part 1 by William Shakespeare

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Themes

Major Theme

The main theme of the play is the English war in France, after
the death of the hero - King Henry V. The leader of the English
is the noble warrior Talbot, opposed in France by the witch,
Joan of Arc and betrayed at home by the strife of English
factions. This theme is represented by the heroic struggles of
Talbot, who is finally overcome, surrounded as he is by danger
on either side of him. The young King Henry VI loses the
territories won by Henry V. His youth, inexperience and his
lack of strength all conspire to this end.

Minor Theme

The internal disunity and dissension found in the ranks of the
English nobility forms the minor theme of the play. It is
represented by the animosity between Gloucester and
Winchester, the quarrel between Somerset and York and the
selfish intrigues of Suffolk. These events have consequences
for the fate of peace within the nation itself as well as its
success against France.

Mood

The opening funeral oration sets the Mood for the rest of the
play, indicating that the emphasis will be upon an ideal of
heroic conduct. The play presents a complex image of personal
worth that continuously recalls the social meaning of heroic
greatness. It shows the fields of France with their last vestiges
of medieval chivalry; the English court, with its peculiar blend
of gentility and intrigue and finally the threat of civil war. Each
episode is didactically purposeful and contains a particular
lesson about politics and ethics. The Mood is serious and
intense throughout, breaking up now and then for a temporary
respite in the form of bawdy comedy.

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MonkeyNotes-Henry VI, Part 1 by William Shakespeare
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