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MonkeyNotes-Henry VI, Part 1 by William Shakespeare

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Act I, Scene V


The French are fighting the English to raise the English siege
over Orleans. The English soldiers are driven back by Joan.
Talbot fights with Joan but it is to no avail. The French succeed
in driving the English away and capture Orleans.


It is a short but significant scene. It brings into focus Talbot’s
attitude towards his new French antagonist, namely Joan. He is
incredulous that a woman can drive away his soldiers. He
ascribes her success to witchcraft and believes her to be aided
by the powers of hell. He cannot conceive of a mere French
woman winning by pure strength and valor alone.

He is not intimidated by her or her supernatural powers and
engages her in fight with him. In direct contrast to his
vehement abuse of her is Joan’s pragmatic attitude as she says,
"Come, Come, ‘tis only I that must disgrace thee." She takes
the French victory in her stride and leaves Talbot to his chaotic
thoughts and feelings. He can’t understand her success and is
angered by his own soldiers’ weakness. He has failed to avenge
Salisbury’s death and the scene ends with Talbot totally bowed
down by the shame of defeat.

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MonkeyNotes-Henry VI, Part 1 by William Shakespeare

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