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MonkeyNotes-Henry VI, Part 1 by William Shakespeare

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Act I, Scene IV

Summary

A few English noblemen including Talbot are gathered on the
turrets around the city of Orleans. They can look into the city
through a grate of iron bars. As they are surveying the French
defense through the grate a young boy shoots them. Lord
Salisbury and Sir Gargrave are badly wounded. Talbot
promises to avenge them against the French. Soon he is
informed that the Dauphin, along with Joan La Lucelle, is
attacking the English who have laid siege to Orleans. Talbot
conveys the dying Salisbury to his tent and gets ready to do
battle with the French.

Notes

English chivalry and heroism is personified in the forms of
Talbot and Salisbury. They are possessed of virtues that have
made England great and led to the defeat of France. Honor is
an integral part of their conduct. The extent to which it is
cherished is shown by Talbotís declaration that he preferred
death rather than be exchanged " with a laser man."

This is a scene of tragic irony that leads to the death of
Salisbury and Gargrave. Its irony lies in the fortuitous nature of
the affair, the unwarranted complacency of the victims and the
destruction of Salisbury by a mere child. Talbot, not knowing
who has fired the gun, compounds the irony by cursing the
hand that destroyed him. Only the spectator know how
fortuitously the tragedy has occurred.

Even as he is grieving for his dying friend Talbot has to
prepare to fight the French. The violence of his feelings and the
gruesome aspects of war are highlighted by his words, "Your
hearts Iíll stamp out ... and made a quagmire if your mingled
brains."

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MonkeyNotes-Henry VI, Part 1 by William Shakespeare
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