Henry VI, Part 1 | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Henry VI, Part 1 | Scene Summaries

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Timeline of Events

  • Early in the 15th century

    Prior to the beginning of the play, Henry V of England dies.

    Act 1, Scene 1
  • During the funeral

    Word arrives of a massive defeat in France.

    Act 1, Scene 1
  • Meanwhile

    Talbot is released from French captivity.

    Act 1, Scene 4
  • Soon afterward

    Joan la Pucelle lifts the siege of Orléans.

    Act 1, Scene 5
  • That very night

    Talbot leads a stealthy assault to recover Orléans.

    Act 2, Scene 1
  • Meanwhile in London

    Richard Plantagenet and Somerset quarrel in the Temple Gardens.

    Act 2, Scene 4
  • Not long after

    King Henry tries (and fails) to stop his uncles from feuding.

    Act 3, Scene 1
  • Minutes later

    Richard Plantagenet is restored to the title of Duke of York.

    Act 3, Scene 1
  • Back in France

    Joan and her soldiers fail to retake Rouen.

    Act 3, Scene 2
  • Just after the battle

    The Duke of Burgundy defects to the French side.

    Act 3, Scene 3
  • Meanwhile

    King Henry arrives in France.

    Act 3, Scene 4
  • Soon afterward

    King Henry is crowned at Paris.

    Act 4, Scene 1
  • After the ceremony

    King Henry leaves for England.

    Act 4, Scene 1
  • Simultaneously

    Talbot marches on Bordeaux to subdue the Duke of Burgundy.

    Act 4, Scene 1
  • As the battle rages

    Somerset refuses to send aid, thereby dooming Talbot.

    Act 4, Scene 4
  • At the battle's end

    Talbot and his son are slain.

    Act 4, Scene 7
  • Back in England

    King Henry seeks peace with France.

    Act 5, Scene 1
  • As the French war ends

    Joan is captured and led to execution.

    Act 5, Scene 4
  • Shortly afterward

    King Henry agrees to marry Margaret of Anjou.

    Act 5, Scene 5

Scene Summaries Chart

Scene Summary
Act 1, Scene 1 The play begins at Westminster Abbey, where the funeral of the late Henry V is being held. The dukes of Bedford, Glouces... Read More
Act 1, Scene 2 The scene shifts to a field in France, outside the city of Orléans (which Shakespeare generally spells "Orleance"). Char... Read More
Act 1, Scene 3 The Duke of Gloucester arrives at the Tower of London to survey the weapons and ammunition stored there; he wants to che... Read More
Act 1, Scene 4 Back in Orléans the French are still under siege by the English. The master gunner (the officer responsible for the Orlé... Read More
Act 1, Scene 5 As the English flee Orléans, Talbot encounters Joan la Pucelle in single combat. He is startled to find he cannot defeat... Read More
Act 1, Scene 6 The siege of Orléans has been lifted. Joan la Pucelle now stands on the walls of the recaptured city, alongside Charles ... Read More
Act 2, Scene 1 The French have posted a guard on the walls of Orléans, but Talbot has a plan to circumvent their watch. Using a ladder,... Read More
Act 2, Scene 2 As dawn breaks, Talbot, Bedford, and Burgundy sound a retreat, having retaken Orléans from the French. In the town squar... Read More
Act 2, Scene 3 The setting shifts to the castle of the Countess of Auvergne, who is awaiting Talbot's arrival. She gives a cryptic inst... Read More
Act 2, Scene 4 This scene, one of the best-known in Shakespeare, takes place in London's Old Temple Gardens. Richard Plantagenet, a dis... Read More
Act 2, Scene 5 Galled by his treatment in the Temple Gardens, Richard Plantagenet goes to the Tower of London to visit his aged uncle E... Read More
Act 3, Scene 1 This scene takes place at the court of King Henry VI. He enters the stage with a retinue of high-ranking English nobleme... Read More
Act 3, Scene 2 Meanwhile in France, Joan la Pucelle and her soldiers are attempting to gain entrance to the English-occupied city of Ro... Read More
Act 3, Scene 3 Outside of Roan (Rouen), Joan la Pucelle and the other French leaders (Charles the Dauphin, the Bastard of Orleance, and... Read More
Act 3, Scene 4 King Henry has arrived in France and is now holding court at Paris, with most of his high-ranking noblemen—Gloucester, W... Read More
Act 4, Scene 1 King Henry is crowned at Paris in the presence of a large retinue of English noblemen: Gloucester, Talbot, Exeter, York,... Read More
Act 4, Scene 2 Talbot arrives at the gates of Bordeaux with a retinue of English soldiers. He demands the city give up its resistance a... Read More
Act 4, Scene 3 The action moves to the fields in Gascony, the southwestern French region surrounding Bordeaux. York learns from a messe... Read More
Act 4, Scene 4 The scene shifts to Somerset's camp, which (like York's in Act 4, Scene 3) is situated in Gascony, near Bordeaux. Speaki... Read More
Act 4, Scene 5 The action returns to Bordeaux for this and the two following scenes. Talbot, now joined by his young son John Talbot, h... Read More
Act 4, Scene 6 Still on the battlefield near Bordeaux, Talbot exhorts his soldiers to keep fighting despite their apparent abandonment ... Read More
Act 4, Scene 7 The English have continued to lose ground at Bordeaux. Talbot, injured, is led onstage by a servant. He is searching des... Read More
Act 5, Scene 1 King Henry has returned to London and is now holding court with his advisers Gloucester and Exeter. The first order of b... Read More
Act 5, Scene 2 Charles the Dauphin and Joan la Pucelle are crossing the plains of Anjou, accompanied by Burgundy, Alanson, Reignier, an... Read More
Act 5, Scene 3 Joan la Pucelle enters and declares that the Duke of York (alias Richard Plantagenet) has routed the last of the French ... Read More
Act 5, Scene 4 York and Warwick are bringing Joan la Pucelle to the stake under armed guard. A French shepherd who claims to be Joan's ... Read More
Act 5, Scene 5 King Henry enters with Suffolk, Gloucester, and Exeter. He has heard all about Margaret from Suffolk and is now desperat... Read More
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