Act 1, Scene 1 Setting: Westminster Abbey, London

The play begins at the funeral of King Henry V, as the late king's brothers and uncles pay homage with him, an homage that also includes an argument between Humphrey of Gloucester (the Protector of the realm) and his uncle Henry, Bishop of Winchester. A series of messengers than arrive with various announcements: The first tells of the English losses of several major cities, including Paris, within France; The second tells of the crowning of Charles the Dauphin and how many powerful French lords have joined forces with him; The third tells of a bloody battle at Orleans where John Talbot, an English commander, has been defeated, wounded and taken captive, despite his valiance on the battlefield, because of the cowardice of one Sir John Fastolf. John of Bedford says he will ransom Talbot and muster an army to go to France to attempt to win back some of their territories. The rest go off to their several duties, and Winchester ends the scene by claiming he will not be long without an office of his own.

Act 1, Scene 2 Setting: Near Orleans, France

Charles the Dauphin converses with Rene of Anjou and the Duke of Alencon on their next move against the English, sharing insults against their enemies in the process. They decide to attack the army led by the Earl of Salisbury.

Act 1, Scene 3 Setting: Near Orleans, France

The French are beaten back from Orleans and admit they have underestimated Salisbury's army. At this point, the Bastard of Orleans enters and brings news of a woman, Joan la Pucelle (Joan of Arc) who claims she has been divinely ordained to fight off the English. When Joan is brought in, Charles asks Rene to stand in for him as Dauphin to see if she will realize the difference, which she immediately does. Joan explains that she is a shepherd's daughter who has been assigned by God to be the "scourge of England." Before he allows her to fight, Charles says Joan must defeat him in single combat, which she is easily able to do. Charles now desperately lusts after Joan, who tells him she has no time for his advances until after the English are defeated. The Dauphin agrees, and they set off to fight the English and take back Orleans.

Act 1, Scene 4 Setting: The Tower of London

Gloucester and his men attempt to enter the tower of London, so they may inspect it, and are barred entry by the warders. This is obviously a mystery to Gloucester, who is then told by Woodville that the Bishop of Winchester has specifically forbid him from gaining admittance. Winchester himself then enters with his men, he and Gloucester trade insults and a skirmish breaks out between the two sides. Finally, the Mayor of London intervenes and says any who continue to fight will be arrested. The two men agree to continue their conflict at a later time and depart.

Act 1, Scene 5 Setting: Orleans

The Master Gunner of Orleans and his son discuss the English siege of Orleans and what their strategy must be.

Act 1, Scene 6 Setting: Tower before the walls of Orleans

Salisbury and Talbot, along with Sir Thomas Gargrave and Sir William Glasdale, discuss Talbot's imprisonment by the French. Talbot tells of the shabby and humiliating treatment he was given by the French and that he was eventually ransomed by Bedford in exchange for a French prisoner. As the men are discussing their plan of action, a cannon goes off and hits them, killing Gargrave and seriously wounding Salisbury, taking out one of his eyes. While Talbot laments for his friends, a messenger enters and delivers news of the coming of the French, with Joan of Arc. This upsets the dying Salisbury, and Talbot vows to have his revenge.

Act 1, Scene 7 Setting: In and before Orleans

Talbot is astounded to find that his men are retreating at the hands of a woman, when he encounters Joan in person. The two briefly fight before Joan departs into Orleans, claiming that it is not yet Talbot's time to die. Talbot's men continue to be beaten back by Joan and the French.

Act 1, Scene 8 Setting: In and before Orleans

Charles, Joan and the French lords celebrate their victory at Orleans, and Charles credits Joan with the defeat of the English forces.

Act 2, Scene 1 Setting: In and before Orleans

A French sergeant commands his sentinels to watch the walls of Orleans closely and inform him if the enemy is spotted. Talbot, Bedford and the Duke of Burgundy enter with scaling ladders, and they mean to surprise the French. They climb the walls and do just that, scattering the French, who are only half dressed. Charles and Joan enter to the other French lords, Charles blaming Joan for a false prophesy, and they all continue to blame one another for being taken by surprise. An English soldier than shouts out the name of Talbot, and the French flee once again.

Act 2, Scene 2 Setting: Within Orleans

Bedford, Talbot and Burgundy discuss how they forced the French, once again, to flee from Orleans. Talbot pays homage to the recently deceased Salisbury and orders his body to be conveyed though the town marketplace. A messenger then enters bringing tidings from the Countess of Auvergne, who would like to invite Talbot to her castle so she may meet the man who has given the French so much trouble. Talbot accepts the invitation, whispers something to an English captain and departs.

Act 2, Scene 3 Setting: The Countess's castle, Auvergne

The Countess of Auvergne reveals that she has invited Talbot to her castle in order to trick him and take him prisoner. When Talbot arrives, the Countess is less than impressed by his physical appearance and accuses him of not actually being the same Talbot that has done so much damage to the French army. Talbot begins to leave, and the Duchess calls him back and claims he is now her prisoner. This does not worry Talbot, who had planned for it, and he blows his horn to call in the English soldiers. The Duchess apologizes for underestimating Talbot, who forgives her, and offers sanctuary for him and his soldiers for the time being.

Act 2, Scene 4 Setting: The temple garden, London

This highly important scene brings about the beginning of the Wars of the Roses. Richard Plantagenet, the Earls of Suffolk and Warwick, the Duke of Somerset, Vernon and a lawyer all discuss who the rightful heir to the throne of England is. The men each pick different color roses within the garden to represent whose side they are on. Richard Plantagenet, Warwick, Vernon and the lawyer all pick a white rose to represent the House of York (which Richard is the leading member of); Suffolk and Somerset both pick a red rose to represent the House of Lancaster, the house of the current King Henry VI. The two factions argue back and forth: Warwick claims that Richard is descended from Edward III's third (second surviving) son Lionel, Duke of Clarance, making him heir over the descendants of John of Gaunt, Lionel's younger brother. Somerset countermands the argument by saying that Richard should be disinherited being that his father, the Earl of Cambridge, was executed for treason after taking part in the Southampton Plot to kill Henry V (as seen in Henry V). After the Lancastrians depart, Warwick tells Richard that this issue will be resolved at the next Parliament, that Richard shall be created Duke of York, and that there will be much bloodshed between the two factions that have just been created in the coming years, before the Yorkists depart.

Act 2, Scene 5 Setting: A cell within the Tower of London

The elderly Edmund Mortimer, who is dying, delivers a sad lament about his many years in prison and hopes that his nephew, Richard Plantagenet, will visit him before his death. He is informed that Richard is on his way before the man himself arrives. Richard tells his uncle of the controversy that has arisen over the execution of his father. Mortimer then informs Richard that he should indeed be the King of England, due to his descent from Edward III's son Lionel. He also claims he has been in prison ever since the Southampton Plot where Richard's father was executed. After Mortimer delivers this information to his nephew, he dies. Richard vows to regain his rightful inheritance.

Act 3, Scene 1 Setting: The Parliament House, London

This scene begins with Winchester tearing up a bill written by Gloucester, accusing him of many heinous deeds. The two engage in a lengthy, and vicious, argument, where each makes a number of accusations against the other. Several of the lords attempt to intervene and, finally, the young King Henry himself calms the argument. At this point, noises are heard outside, and the Mayor of London bursts in complaining that the respective factions of Gloucester and Winchester are causing havoc in the city, destroying themselves and everything around them with stones. The serving men of Gloucester and Winchester come in and say they will never give up their cause. Henry pleads with his uncles to make peace. Gloucester agrees and offers Winchester his hand. At first, Winchester is unwilling to make peace with his nephew, but ultimately agrees (though the peace is hollow on both sides). After the supposed "peace," the men are dismissed and Warwick suggest it is time to reinstate Richard to his inheritance. Gloucester and the others agree this is the right thing to do, and Richard is created Duke of York by the king, with his inheritance being restored completely. This pleases all except for Somerset, who, it must be remembered is a member of the Lancastrian faction. Gloucester then suggests it is time for Henry to be crowned King of France, and they depart. Exeter delivers a haunting soliloquy to end the scene, reminding the audience of the prophesy at the end of Henry V: that Henry VI will lose all his father had won. The duke hopes his time ends before it happens.

Act 3, Scene 2 Setting: In and around Rouen, France

Joan and several of her soldiers stand before Rouen disguised as poor farmers. The plan is they will gain admittance into the city and signal for Charles and his army to enter, so they may lay siege to the town. They knock at the door and are admitted immediately.

Act 3, Scene 3 Setting: In and around Rouen

Charles and his men await the signal of Joan from the walls of Rouen (Joan will wave a torch if it is safe for them to enter). Joan appears waving the torch, and the French start their siege on Rouen.

Act 3, Scene 4 Setting: In and around Rouen

Talbot vows revenge for the deceitfulness Joan used in gaining entry to Rouen.

Act 3, Scene 5 Setting: In and around Rouen

The French, from the walls of Rouen, and the English, from outside the walls, exchange insults. When Talbot challenges the French to come down and fight, the French refuse and exit from the walls. Both Talbot and Burgundy vow to take back the town or die trying. Talbot then offers to take Bedford, who is dying, away to a more comfortable place, which he refuses, saying he wants to see the outcome of the battle. The English go into Rouen to fight with the French. Meanwhile, Sir John Fastolf and a captain enter, and Fastolf reveals he will once again desert Talbot in the battle, which he does, and is criticized by the captain. A retreat is sounded, and the French are seen running away. Bedford, content with seeing his enemies on the run, dies peacefully.

Act 3, Scene 6 Setting: In and around Rouen

Talbot and Burgundy celebrate the recapture of Rouen. They say they will restore order to the town before heading to Paris, where King Henry is. First, though, they must give proper funeral rights to the recently deceased Bedford.

Act 3, Scene 7 Setting: Plains near Rouen

Joan tells the French lords not to let the English victory at Rouen discourage them. They all agree that they will continue to follow her, and Joan reveals her plan: She will entice the Duke of Burgundy, a Frenchman, to rejoin the French forces, deserting the English. The English troops pass by, and a parley is called by Charles with Burgundy. Joan delivers a very convincing speech, and Burgundy immediately yields to her and rejoins the French army, which the others celebrate.

Act 3, Scene 8 Setting: The palace, Paris

Talbot arrives at Paris to do homage to King Henry. Henry, who knows all about Talbot's valiant deeds in the battlefield in France, creates him Earl of Shrewsbury as a reward. All of the lords exit, leaving Vernon, a member of the Yorkist faction, and Basset, a member of the Lancastrian faction, alone. The two argue over their respective factions before Vernon strikes Basset. Basset vows to speak with the king to see how he may right this wrong that has been committed against him.

Act 4, Scene 1 Setting: The palace, Paris

The scene begins with Henry being crowned King of France by Winchester. No sooner is this accomplished when Fastolf enters bringing a letter from the Duke of Burgundy. Before the letter is read, Talbot rips off Fastolf's garter (symbolizing that he is a member of the Knight's of the Garter) and reprimands him for his cowardly actions in the earlier battles when he deserted Talbot. Talbot delivers a speech telling of the virtues a Knight of the Garter is supposed to possess, and Henry, made angry by Fastolf's actions, exiles the cowardly knight upon pain of death. Fastolf departs, and Gloucester reads Burgundy's letter, which, of course, tells of his defection and oath of loyalty to King Charles of France. All present are appalled by Burgundy's actions, and Talbot is sent to confront the duke. At this point, Vernon (servant to Richard, Duke of York) enters wearing a white rose, along with Basset (servant to Somerset) wearing a red rose. They both ask permission from the king to engage in a duel. The two servants reveal the argument they had over the different color roses, and their meaning, that they wear. This ignites an argument between Somerset and York. The king does not completely understand, but says the two lords must make peace, which they do not want to do. After the other lords make objections to the quarrel, Henry delivers a speech warning that the quarrel between the two factions will provide a weakness for the French to take advantage of. During the speech, he picks a red rose to wear and says it means not that he favors Somerset more than York. He then makes York regent of France, asks the men to make peace again and departs with his lords for England. After the king's departure, York expresses displeasure that the king chose to wear the red rose. Warwick convinces him that it need not be worried about, and they depart. The scene ends, once again, with Exeter delivering a prophetic soliloquy on the upcoming danger between the two factions.

Act 4, Scene 2 Setting: Before Bordeaux

Talbot and his men stand before the walls of Bordeaux and demand they surrender the city to them and swear allegiance to King Henry. A French general enters and informs Talbot that they have no intentions of surrendering to him. He claims that Talbot's army is surrounded on all sides by the dauphin's men and that they do not stand a chance to defeat them. Talbot hears the army in the distance, sends some men to survey the situation and vows he will do all he can to fight the enemy.

Act 4, Scene 3 Setting: A field somewhere in France

A messenger informs York that the French army is about to do battle with Talbot and his men, and York claims that he cannot act without the promised reinforcements from Somerset. Sir William Lucy then enters and tells York that Talbot, and his son, are in need of immediate aid, or they will surely be defeated. York again curses Somerset before departing. This time it is Lucy who ends the scene telling of the damage being caused by the quarrel between the two factions.

Act 4, Scene 4 Setting: A field in France

Somerset tells a captain that the rash expedition constructed by Talbot and York has prevented him from sending aid in time. Lucy arrives and announces that Talbot and his son are desperate for help and that York and Somerset should not let their personal differences stand in the way of getting them help. Somerset claims it is York's fault Talbot is in this situation, and Lucy tells him that York blames him for not sending his horsemen. Somerset says that York is lying. Lucy reminds him that Talbot's life is at stake, and Somerset agrees to send the horsemen. It may be too late for Talbot though.

Act 4, Scene 5 Setting: Battlefield near Bordeaux

Talbot, who is guilt wracked for bringing his son into such a dangerous situation when he wanted to teach him about war stratigems, commands Young Talbot to flee. Young Talbot argues that he has not yet gained renown and that his loss would be no big feat. If Talbot is lost, however, it would be a crushing blow to the English cause. Therefore, Young Talbot says it is he that should flee. The two argue back and forth before it is finally agreed that they will die fighting together.

Act 4, Scene 6 Setting: Battlefield near Bordeaux

Talbot rescues his son from the French and tells of how well they both do in the battle. Once again, Talbot attempts to convince his son to flee and live, this time saying he has now proved himself in the battlefield and will not seem cowardly if he departs. Young Talbot again refuses his father and tells him not to push the subject any further. The two vow to fight to the death.

Act 4, Scene 7 Setting: Battlefield near Bordeaux

Talbot, who has been fatally wounded in battle, tells of how his son saved him and was, in the process, killed himself. The body of Young Talbot is brought in, and Talbot delivers a sad lament before he dies with his son in his arms. When the French arrive and discover the bodies of the Talbots, there are some kind words and some cruel words. The Bastard wants to hack up their bodies, while Charles feels they deserve respect. Lucy arrives and asks if he may learn of those Englishmen who have been killed or taken prisoner. It is revealed that the Talbots have been killed, and a saddened Lucy requests permission to take their bodies so they may be buried properly. The French agree to release the bodies, and they set off towards Paris to take back France from the English.

Act 5, Scene 1 Setting: The palace, London

King Henry and Gloucester discuss how the pope, the emperor and the Earl of Armagnac request that a peace be made between England and France. Both agree that this would be the best plan of action, and Gloucester announces that, as a peace offering, Armagnac offers his only daughter for Henry to marry. Although Henry believes he is too young for marriage, he agrees to take part in it. Winchester, who has been promoted to cardinal, enters with some ambassadors and a papal legate, and Exeter delivers an aside telling of a prophecy spoken by Henry V that says Winchester will achieve this office and attempt to use his power to influence royal affairs. Henry announces that he agrees to the peace in France and to marry Armagnac's daughter, and the men set off, leaving Winchester with the papal legate. Winchester tells the legate that the pope shall receive the money he promised him for making him cardinal very soon. He then says that, now that he has this higher office, Gloucester shall soon be under his control.

Act 5, Scene 2 Setting: Plains in Anjou, France

Charles announces to Joan and his lords that Paris has revolted against England in favor of the French once again. A scout enters and says that the English army, which had been divided in two, has merged and will presently do battle with them. The French depart to take part in the battle.

Act 5, Scene 3 Setting: Before Angiers, France

Joan enters alone and tells of how York has defeated the French. She calls on her fiends for help. The fiends arrive but do not respond when she pleads with them for aid for the French army. After they depart, Joan realizes the French will lose the battle.

Act 5, Scene 4 Setting: Before Angiers

York and Burgundy fight, and he and the other French flee, leaving Joan behind, who is then captured by York. Joan curses both York and King Charles in addition to spewing out several other macabre comments. York informs her she will be burnt at the stake.

Act 5, Scene 5 Setting: Before Angiers

Suffolk is seen with Margaret, daughter to Rene of Anjou, and he seems to be fascinated by her beauty. Margaret is not particularly sure why Suffolk keeps her and assumes it is as his prisoner. Therefore, she asks what ransom he requires of her. A lengthy section then takes place where the two switch back and forth with asides, Suffolk suggesting that Margaret marry the king but also wanting her to be his mistress and Margaret not knowing what to think of the situation. Finally, Suffolk makes the suggestion for Margaret to be Henry's wife, and she says her father must approve. Suffolk sends for Anjou, who promptly agrees to the match between the king and his daughter, since it will bring peace to the region. After Anjou and Margaret depart, Suffolk wishes Margaret could be his.

Act 5, Scene 6 Setting: The Duke of York's camp, France

York and Warwick have Joan prisoner with Joan's father, the shepherd, also present. The shepherd pleads for his daughter's life, but Joan renounces him, saying that he is not her actual father and that she is descended from a higher stock. Ultimately, the shepherd is so offended by his daughter's shunning that he leaves and tells the English she deserves to be hanged. Joan then delivers a speech telling of her maidenhood and that, for that reason, she should not be burned. Warwick tells the executioners to give her a quick burning since she has remained pure. Joan than claims that she is pregnant and claims that the father is first Charles, second Alencon, and third Rene. Each time she is rebuked by York and Warwick for her unchaste ways, and finally, they agree she must be burnt for her permiscuity. Joan finally accepts her fate but curses the men before she is led off. Winchester then enters with word from the king of a peace with France. York is unhappy with this news, but Warwick convinces him that any truce will certainly be in the favor of the English. Charles and his lords enter, and Winchester announces that Henry will be lenient with them if they agree to be his loyal subjects and that Charles will serve as viceroy under him. This treaty is not particularly pleasing to Charles but he agrees after advice from Rene and Alencon, who say he may brake the truce later on when they are at a better vantage point. The truce is agreed to and the French swear allegiance to King Henry.

Act 5, Scene 7 Setting: The palace, London

King Henry is fascinated by Suffolk's description of Margaret and would love to have her as his queen. This is upsetting to Gloucester who reminds the king that he is already betrothed to Armagnac's daughter. Suffolk argues that the daughter of Armagnac is of too low status for a king and that Rene is king of both Naples and Jerusalem. Gloucester then says that, despite Rene's titles, he would more likely ask for money than give it as a dowry for his daughter. Suffolk then delivers a speech that tells of how the king should marry for love, not money, and that Margaret is more than worthy to be his wife. Henry listens and agrees that Margaret is the perfect match for him, tells Suffolk to retrieve her from France and kindly asks Gloucester not to object further. The play ends with Suffolk, speaking via soliloquy, comparing himself to Paris retrieving Helen from Greece and that he will soon be in charge of Margaret, the king and the realm of England.

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