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MonkeyNotes-Henry VI, Part 1 by William Shakespeare

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Literary/Historical Information

Shakespeareís two main sources of information are: Edward
Hallís The Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Families of
Lancaster and York (1548); and Raphael Molinshedís The
chronicles of England, Ireland, and Scotland (1578). Of the
latter, Shakespeare used the second edition of 1587.

The action of the play runs from the birth of Henry VI till his
marriage to Margaret of Anjou. The main focus is on the loss
of French territories by the English during the reign of Henry
VI. Henry was born in 1421 and his father Henry V died in
1422.

Henry V invaded France, renewing the Hundred-Year-War,
initiated by his great-grandfather in 1337. This war lasted from
1337 to 1453. The reason that led to this war was the English
claim to the crown of France. The French throne was claimed
for Edward III in his motherís right. She was Isabella, the
daughter of Charles IV, the King of France. The French lords
saying that no woman could transmit a claim to the French
crown denied him the crown.

King Henry VI, Part I treats a series of events from the funeral
of Henry V in November 1422 to the defeat and death of
Talbot at Chatillan in July 1453, the encounter that ended the
Hundred-Year-War. Shakespeare also emphasizes the rivalry
between the English peers that lead to the loss of English
possessions in France and finally develops into the War of the
Roses, the English civil war that follows the French disaster.

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MonkeyNotes-Henry VI, Part 1 by William Shakespeare
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