Friday, January 14, 2011

1 Henry 6 Act 3, Scenes 3 & 4; Act 4, Scene 1


here's what happened today in Henry-land:
we start the scene with Joan telling Charles not to worry because the French will still be ultimately victorious. Charles tells her he isn't worried and still believes in her. then Joan has the great idea of getting the Duke of Bergundy (formerly on the side of England) over onto their side. coincidentally, the English march into Paris at exaclty that moment and they are able to secure a meeting with him immediately. and when i say immediately, i mean a hanfdul of lines later. Joan is very persuasive and through sympathy and Jedi mind tricks, gets Bergundy to switch sides a few more moments later. the Frenchies are super stoked and further plot their revenge on the English.
in the last scene of act 3, Henry arrives in Paris, and Talbot graciously pauses his fighting to receive him. Henry tells Talbot how much his father loved him and offers to make him an Earl at his upcoming coronation. they leave and then the servants of Richard and Somerset get in a huge fight over the white vs. the red roses that they wear in honor of their masters. i assume this is foreshadowing the upcoming war between the Yorks (Richard) and Lancasters (Henry and Somerset).
in the first scene of act 4 the coronation is taking place, crowning Henry the King of France. Falstaff comes in with a letter he somehow got from Bergundy and they rip him a new one. Talbot is crazy pissed off. Falstaff's knighthood is stripped from him and he is banished. harsh. then they read Bergundy's letter. the fact that he has defected completely doesn't make them mad though. they just send Talbot to go talk to him. double standards? i think so. anyway, the fighting servants from act 3 come in and ask Henry for permission to duel. he begs them to forget the whole thing and live in peace, but they're not hearing it. Henry wisely says that the English families must stay united at least to the public because if the French sense a chink in the armor, they will be able to take them down. Henry makes Richard the Regent to France and peaces out back to England. York almost gives away that he wants to take over the whole shebang, but bites his tongue. Exeter finishes the scene with the quote of the day, below.

i have further questions about Joan. my understanding was that in real life she was a brave woman of God who died a martyr. am i mistaken? Shakespeare depicts her here as having more of like... Jedi powers. she's a witch! she is able to convince people to do things they would normally never do, she can see the future, and who knows what else? this connects back to my question about how true these 'histories' are. i know he takes some liberties, but i still need to find out how far he goes in imagining and/or altering the 'facts'. and why alter them at all?
another liberty taken is in the scene with Falstaff. apparently in real life, Bedford stripped his knighthood from him, not Talbot. in the play, however, Bedford is dead for some reason. also in real life, Talbot was being held captive by the French at this point. why change these facts? i'm not really sure, but i would love to find out. does anyone have any information on this?

so Henry gets crowned King of France. can they just do that? because they have a hold on Paris, apparently? that seems crazy. march into a country and crown yourself. sweet deal.

today i remembered that in high school my best friend alicia and i began to read Shakespeare with a southern accent. for some reason, this really helped us. besides being entertaining, it somehow made the text make sense. the best we can figure is because the rhythms and sounds of the accents are similar somehow. i know i sound nuts, but it's true. anyway, if you're having trouble, i dare you to try it. let me know when it works. because it will!

stick with me, kids!

quote of the day:
'tis much when scepters are in children's hands,
but more when envy breeds unkind division
there comes the ruin, there begins confusion.'
     -Exeter; act 4, scene 1

for tomorrow: act 4, scenes 2-7; act 5, scene 1

-rebecca may


  1. On Self-coronation: Imagine if a man ordered an end to a recount of votes in a contested election, because continuing the recount would cause him to doubt he actually won.

    On Shakespeare with a southern accent: Languages and cultures are much more interconnected from place to place and time to time than stereotypes would allow us to believe.

  2. At The Globe, they recommend reading and memorization while crawling on all fours! There is a direct correlation between action and dialogue. If we consider Stanislavski's teaching and that teaching in the Acting is Believng text, that speech is an action--then the whole Southern dialect thing makes sense. Read this again if it seems pretzeled.