Study Guide

Henry VI Part 1 Act 1, Scene 5

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Act 1, Scene 5

Read the full text of Henry VI Part 1 Act 1 Scene 5 with a side-by-side translation HERE.

  • Talbot laments that he cannot get his troops to keep fighting and that they're being chased off by a woman in armor.
  • Talbot expresses very clearly his view that Joan is a witch, and her supernatural power comes from the devil and not God. He also says he'll kill her in battle.
  • Joan replies that she will disgrace him in battle, and they fight.
  • Talbot cries on the heavens to help him, invoking God's supernatural power against what he perceives to be the devil's. He says he'll strain his utmost to chastise Joan, and he calls her a strumpet (a prostitute or sexually loose woman).
  • They keep fighting. Joan says she has to go to take care of other things, and taunts Talbot, claiming "This day is ours, as many more shall be" (1.5.18).
  • Talbot laments that Joan's sorcery has made his men afraid, and mourns that the English fierceness has gone. He encourages the troops and leads another skirmish, but then they have to retreat; Talbot says his shame is so great he wishes he'd died with Salisbury.
  • Joan flies the French flag over Orleans and proclaims that they've rescued it from the English.
  • The Dauphin praises Joan with classical allusions and calls her "glorious prophetess" (1.5.47).
  • Orleans celebrates with bells and bonfires, kind of like that extra ending that George Lucas added to Return of the Jedi with crazy fireworks all over the galaxy.
  • Alencon says France will celebrate when it's known how brave and masculine the French armies were; Charles says the victory is Joan's.
  • He also makes elaborate promises, like sharing the crown and having the priests sing praises to her (this probably sounded a bit dicey to the playwrights' English Protestant audience, many of whom were against the Catholic tradition of praying to the saints).
  • A bit ominously, he also promises to revere her ashes when she has died. This may be a bit of foreshadowing. Charles the character in the play can't know this yet, but historically Shakespeare's audience knows that Joan of Arc was burned at the stake by the English.
  • Charles is really heaping it on—he even suggests displacing St. Denis, the patron saint of France, with Joan. Then they head in to a victory banquet.

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