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Henry VI, Part 1 Characters

King Henry the Sixth

King Henry VI is a very young, rather simple-minded monarch, of excessive piety and naiveté, who relies almost entirely on his uncle the Duke of Gloucester. 

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Duke of Gloucester

Duke of Gloucester is King Henry’s uncle and Lord Protector, charged with the safety of the King in his youth and the government of the realm until he comes of age. 

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Duke of Bedford

Duke of Bedford is Regent of France, in charge of continuing the war against the French and safeguarding Henry V’s conquests. 

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John Beauford, Duke of Somerset

The Duke of Somerset, of the Lancastrian party, is a young and haughty lord, who despises Richard Plantagenet for being the son of a traitor, and is incensed when the latter is restored to his father’s lands and named Duke of York. 

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Richard Plantagenet

Richard Plantagenet, head of the Yorkist party, is the son of the Earl of Cambridge, who attempted to assassinate the King’s father (see Henry V). 

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Earl of Suffolk

The Earl of Suffolk (William de la Pole), of the Lancastrian party, is a young English nobleman, a friend of Somerset’s. 

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Lord Talbot

Lord Talbot, the Earl of Shrewsbury, is the greatest of the English generals in France, a man whose successes are so great that the mention of his name alone is enough to make the French run away. 

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Talbot’s Trumpeter

Talbot’s Trumpeter [mute role] follows his master and summons the French General to talk.

Sir John Falstaff

Sir John Falstaff is a cowardly English knight who twice runs away from battle, leaving Talbot in grave difficulty, a fact that in one case leads to Talbot’s capture. 

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Sir William Lucy

Sir William Lucy rushes to both Richard Duke of York and the Duke of Somerset to plead for reinforcements to help Talbot in his last battle, and is horrified at how they let their private quarrel intervene and use it as an excuse not to do so, and blame the other. 

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Sir William Glansdale

Sir William Glansdale is an English knight who is part of the force besieging Orléans and is an expert on artillery placement, though he disagrees with the other expert, Gargrave.

Sir Thomas Gargrave

Sir Thomas Gargrave is an English knight who is part of the force besieging Orléans and is an expert on artillery placement, though he disagrees with the other expert, Glansdale. 

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Mayor of London

The Mayor of London is left shaking his head at the silliness of noblemen and their quarrels after he is forced to read the Riot Act to two of the highest magnates in the land and their men. 

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Woodvile is the Lieutenant of the Tower of London, charged with its defense. He refuses entry to the Duke of Gloucester on the Bishop of Winchester’s orders, precipitating a street brawl.


Vernon, of the Yorkist party, is a young Englishman who follows and supports Richard Plantagenet from the start, taking his side at the quarrel in the Temple Garden. 

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Basset, of the Lancastrian party, is a young Englishman who follows and supports the Duke of Somerset, insulting the Duke of York in Vernon’s presence. 

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A Lawyer, of the Yorkist party, is present at Somerset and Richard Plantagenet’s quarrel at the Temple (law school). On the basis of a point of law, he takes Richard’s side in their dispute.

Duke of Burgundy

The Duke of Burgundy is King Henry’s uncle, and a faithful supporter of the English until he is seduced to the French side by Joan de Pucelle’s arguments and accepts that he is himself a Frenchman. His defection marks the end of English hopes in France. 

Governor of Paris

The Governor of Paris attends Henry’s coronation as King of France and swears to accept no other King.

Master Gunner’s Boy

The Master Gunner’s Boy is the son of the Master Gunner of Orléans, set to keep a lookout for the English nobility and to fetch his father so that the latter can shoot at them should they appear. 

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French Sergeant

The French Sergeant is in charge of setting sentinels to watch for the English.


The Porter is charged by the Countess of Auvergne to lock the doors to her house once Talbot has entered in.


A Shepherd is Joan de Pucelle’s father, who has been searching for her since she ran away. 

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Margaret is Reignier of Anjou’s daughter, and sets stock by his empty claim to be a King. 

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Countess of Auvergne

Countess of Auvergne is a patriotic Frenchwoman who thinks she will be able to deal a terrible blow to the English by capturing Talbot, and not incidentally become very famous. 

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The Fiends [mute roles] are demons who have helped Joan de Pucelle achieve victory. They refuse to give her any more help despite all her offers.

Papal Legate

Papal Legate comes from the Pope to crown the Bishop of Winchester as a Cardinal, and receives Winchester’s bribe money in return to bring back to the Pope. 

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First Messenger

The First Messenger brings news to the English court of how the French have taken back vast amounts of territory since Henry V dies. 

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Second Messenger

The Second Messenger brings to the English court the news that Charles has had himself crowned King, and that many great nobles of France have flocked to his side. 

Third Messenger

The Third Messenger brings news to the English court of Talbot’s capture and Falstaff’s cowardice.

Fourth Messenger

The Fourth Messenger comes to warn Talbot that the French have been joined by Joan de Pucelle and the Dolphin and are coming to raise the siege of Orléans.

Fifth Messenger

The Fifth Messenger informs the Duke of York that the French armies have met and joined together, and that the full French force is attacking Talbot.


The Officer reads out the Riot Act to Gloucester, Winchester and their followers as they riot, at the Mayor’s command.

First Sentinel

The First Sentinel does not appreciate his job, as it is most uncomfortable.

English Soldier

An English Soldier knows perfectly well how much the French fears Talbot, and uses the fact to enrich himself by scaring them off with only the sound of Talbot’s name.

Messenger of the Countess

The Messenger of the Countess delivers the Countess of Auvergne’s invitation to Talbot. He knows how to flatter.

First Keeper

The First Keeper is in charge of Mortimer’s prison. He is kind to his prisoner, and arranges a meeting with Richard Plantagenet when Mortimer asks him to.

Second Keeper

The Second Keeper [mute role] is one of the guards of Mortimer’s prison. He helps carry the prisoner out to see Richard Plantagenet.

Second Sentinel

The Second Sentinel [mute role] keeps watch with the First Sentinel.

First Soldier

The First Soldier is one of Joan de Pucelle’s disguised group that sneaks into Rouen, and enjoys a good pun.

Ambassador from the Emperor

Ambassador from the Emperor [mute role] has brought the Emperor’s request that England and France should make peace to King Henry.

Ambassador from the Earl of Armagnac

Ambassador from the Earl of Armagnac [mute role] has brought the Earl’s request that there should be peace between England and France to King Henry, and his offer of his daughter’s hand.


A Scout brings the French leadership the news that the two English armies have met and combined.

French Herald

French Herald [mute role] brings Lucy to the Dauphin’s tent under a safe-conduct.

Soldier of the Watch

Soldier of the Watch is an English guard who lets Joan de Pucelle into Rouen, believing her story that she and her group are going to market.

Talbot’s Servant

Talbot’s Servant accompanies his master to the battle and cares for him once he is injured.


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