Steven's Reviews > Henry VI, Part 1

Henry VI, Part 1 by William Shakespeare
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's review
Jan 19, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: classic, english, drama, blog-related

Obviously, this is a dramatic take on the true events, but I love that Shakespeare’s “first” play touched on the legend of the female warrior saint. Neither the French or English sides come off as heroic. In fact, the English come off a little dimwitted and the French come off pompous and treacherous. Joan is sultry and comical and is the only character with enough sense to use her best assets (yup) to lead her side to victory. Joan resists the infighting and focuses on the fighting.

While I was initially excited to read Joan, my favorite part of the play, the most heartfelt scene, had nothing to do with her. In Act IV, Talbot, the bravest and most relentless of the English lords, meets his son on the battlefield, seeing each other for the first time in seven years. As it’s history, I don’t feel I’m ruining anything by telling you that both characters die, in each other’s arms after fighting side by side. I didn’t expect to encounter such an emotional scene outside of the tragedies. It really hit me. The contrast that follows, a scene where Joan denies her own father feels cold and brutal. If there is a distinct line drawn between the English and the French in this play, it is in these conflicting father/child relationships. He’s tricky, that Will, to so skillfully draw the battle lines in theses scenes that feel so removed from war.

Read my full review and follow my trek through the complete works of Shakespeare at

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