Sunday, January 16, 2011

1 Henry 6 Act 5, Scenes 2-5


here's how the play ended:
scene 2 starts with Charles and the Frenchies marching off to Paris. the Parisians are ready to fight England, so Charles is off to help them.
in scene 3, Joan is conjuring up spirits of some sort. she asks them to help her, offering sacrifices to secure their aid. they just hang or shake their heads, not speaking to her. not a good sign. nothing appeases them, and they leave. Joan knows she's screwed. fighting breaks out and Joan is taken captive by the English. York is like- hey, if you're so powerful, then let your spirits save you. they don't of course, and she curses them up a storm. then, in a weird turn of events, Suffolk happens to meet Margaret. she is the daughter of Reignier (French King of Naples who hangs out with Charles), and he falls madly in love with her right away. they have a pretty hilarious exchange and he decides to woo her for Charles since he can't have her for himself. he asks her if she wants to be queen and she tells him to ask her dad. Suffolk asks Reignier, who agrees as long as the English leave his territory alone. Suffolk goes off to tell Charles, but not before making it clear to the reader/audience that he plans to have Margaret for himself in one way or another. creeper.
in scene 4, Joan's dad comes in to see her and she denies being his daughter! he begs her and she is SO mean to him. he finally curses her and leaves. she tries to put off her execution by telling them she's pregnant. they think it would be Charles' baby, but she says it's Alencon's. and then she says its Reignier's. so obviously she's lying. they take her off to execution as she curses England and everyone there. then gross Winchester comes in talking about the peace between France and England. York thinks it was a waste of time and resources to do all that fighting just to end up making peace. the deal Charles has to make is to swear allegiance to Henry, and England will stop attacking. Charles will be a viceroy and retain the towns he is currently in control of. he waivers for awhile on this, but ultimately agrees to it.
in the last scene, Suffolk tells Henry all about Margaret. he falls in love with her (even though he hasn't met her but whatev) and says he wants to marry her. Gloucester thinks this is inappropriate because he's already betrothed. after some arguing, Suffolk says that if Henry wants Margaret, he should have Margaret and not proceed with the arranged marriage. (see quote of the day.) It's agreed he will have her. Suffolk concludes the play saying that he will rule over Margaret, thereby ruling the King and England as well. THE END.

okay so in scene 2, Charles is marching off to Paris. but i thought they already did that. i thought that's how act 4 ended. i am confused. check out lines 95 & 96 of act 4, scene 7. now check out lines 4 & 5 of act 5, scene 1. am i just thinking too hard?

my main question still surrounds Joan of Arc. she is killed, i'm assuming. it's not quite as obvious as Shakespeare usually makes it. usually we see a dead body or someone drifts off to death onstage, or at least we hear specifically what happened offstage. this time, we just see her taken out to be burnt at the stake. anyway, my real ??? is that Joan is portrayed as a total crazy. she's a witch and a liar, and by the end I had no sympathy for her. Shakespeare tries to justify her death by making her unlikeable. does he do this because it probably doesn't look good that England killed an innocent young girl? or is this what he thinks happened? or is it what really happened? or is it just better theater that way? anyone know?

i feel like Shakespeare led us to believe that France would win this whole thing by the end of the play. but then they didn't. interesting. very interesting. did anyone else feel that way?

quote of the day:
'for what is wedlock forced but a hell,
an age of discord and continual strife?
whereas the contrary bringeth bliss,
and is a pattern of celestial peace.'
     -suffolk; act 5, scene 5

for tomorrow: The Rape of Lucrece, introduction and lines 1-91
tuesday: lines 92-539
wedensday: lines 540-1001
thursday: 1002-1442
friday: 1443-1855

2 plays and 1 poem down; 36 plays, 154 sonnets, and 4 poems to go.

-rebecca the tired


  1. Did we ever discover the identity of the mystery woman from earlier? Did I just miss the implication of who she was?

    I wonder why I never heard anything about this depiction of Joan of Arc. It's interesting to have another viewpoint. Of course, Shakespeare lived in a predominantly Protestant era in England. Maybe maligning a Catholic saint was a wise political choice. However, his plays are well known for protesting contemporary rulers by referencing them in his portrayal of the histories of previous kings.

  2. Just found out that Joan was not beatified until 1909. She was canonized in 1920. So, she was a few hundred years away from sainthood when Shakespeare wrote about her.

  3. Susan, What mystery woman? The countess? She never reappeared.
    Thanks for the insight on Joan of Arc!

  4. Joan of Arc, Rebecca, was burned in your grandfather's hometown of Rouen. The Place de Joan d'Arc is one of the highlights of post-war Rouen. An iron cross marks the spot of her immolation. I also learned today, off topic, that it was not the Nazi's that destroyed Rouen--it was the Allies. On April 19, 1944 (note the date), the Allies did a bonbing run to wipe out some key points before d-day. They missed some targets and the devastation of Rouen and especially Rouen Cathedral was one of the catastophies of that error. You know me and my historical research. Sometimes you find out things you didn't want to know.