Study Guide

Henry VI Part 1 Patriotism

By William Shakespeare

Patriotism

What's it mean to love your country? The answer to that in Henry VI, Part 1 turns out to be a little complicated. It might mean being loyal to your king. But wait: Maybe your king's grandfather stole the throne. What's a patriot to do then? It might mean being loyal to your fellow noblemen. But what if they're bickering and fighting among themselves? Then perhaps it means supporting your allies. But what if they change sides like Burgundy? Maybe it means loyalty to the land itself, though if people you know are fighting over it that may mean betraying friends.

In short, patriotism is totally important in this play… it's just not super clear what it looks like.

Questions About Patriotism

  1. What does it mean to love a country in this play? How do you know? Is it different for the French and English?
  2. Who is the most patriotic character in the play? Do others see them this way as well?
  3. Is patriotism different for women and men? How so? Use the text to support your answer.

Chew on This

Henry VI may not be a great leader, but his loyalty to England makes him the biggest patriot in the play.

Ultimately, no one is truly patriotic in this play—everyone just defines the word to suit their own personal needs.

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