Henry VI, Part I

The play opens in the aftermath of the death of King Henry V. News reaches England of military setbacks in France, and the scene shifts to Orleans, where ‘La Pucelle’ (Joan of Arc) is encouraging the Dauphin to resist. She defeats an English army led by Talbot.

In England, Richard, Duke of York, quarrels with John Beaufort, 1 st Duke of Somerset about his claim on the throne. The lords select red or white roses, depending on whether they favour the House of Lancaster or that of York. Edmund Mortimer, a leading claimant to the throne, is a prisoner in the Tower of London and declares Richard his heir. The young Henry VI honours both Richard and Talbot.

Talbot dies bravely in his next battle against the French. In the meantime, King Henry is married off to a young French princess, Margaret of Anjou. Suffolk intends to control the king through Margaret. Ill feeling between him and the Duke of Gloucester continues to grow.


King Henry, the Sixth
Duke of Gloucester, uncle to the king, and Protector
Duke of Bedford, uncle to the king, and Regent of France
Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter, great-uncle to the king
Henry Beaufort, great-uncle to the king, bishop of Winchester, and afterwards cardinal
John Beaufort, Earl, afterwards Duke, of Somerset
Richard Plantagenet, son of Richard late Earl of Cambridge, afterwards Duke of York
Earl of Warwick
Earl of Salisbury
Earl of Suffolk
Lord Talbot, afterwards Earl of Shrewsbury
John Talbot, Lord Talbot’s son
Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March
Sir John Fastolfe
Sir William Lucy Sir William Glansdale
Sir Thomas Gargrave
Mayor of London Woodvile, lieutenant of the Tower
Vernon, of the White-Rose or York faction
Basset, of the Red-Rose or Lancaster faction
A lawyer
Mortimer’s keepers
Charles, Dauphin, and afterwards King of France
Reignier, Duke of Anjou, and titular King of Naples
Duke of Burgundy
Duke of Alencon
Bastard of Orleans
Governor of Paris
Master-Gunner of Orleans, and his son
General of the French forces in Bourdeaux
A French sergeant
A porter
An old shepherd, father to Joan la Pucelle
Margaret, daughter to Reignier, afterwards married to King Henry
Countess of Auvergne
Joan la Pucelle, commonly called Joan of Arc

Lords, warders of the Tower, heralds, officers, soldiers, messengers, and attendants.

Fiends appearing to La Pucelle.