Study Guide

Henry VI, Part 1

by William Shakespeare

Henry VI, Part 1 Characters

Characters Discussed (Great Characters in Literature)

King Henry VI

King Henry VI, a simple, peace-loving, and almost saintly monarch. He becomes the pawn of his queen and his powerful noblemen. Although he is aware of their evil, he remains incapable of action against them.

Margaret of Anjou

Margaret of Anjou, his strong-minded, articulate queen. She despises Henry for his weakness and allies herself with the duke of Suffolk to become, in effect, the ruler of England.

William de la Pole

William de la Pole, the earl of Suffolk, her lover. A staunch Lancastrian, he tries to govern the kingdom through his influence over the queen.

Humphrey

Humphrey, the duke of Gloucester, the Lord Protector, a violent, uncontrollable foe of Cardinal Beaufort.

Henry Beaufort

Henry Beaufort, the cardinal of Winchester, his power-hungry uncle and bitter enemy.

Lord Talbot

Lord Talbot, later the earl of Shrewsbury, the English military hero who leads his nation to victory over France and Joan of Arc.

Joan la Pucelle

Joan la Pucelle, commonly called Joan of Arc, the French shepherdess who becomes the leader of the Dauphin’s army. She is presented as a witch, possessed by devils.

Charles

Charles, the Dauphin of France, who readily accepts Joan’s aid and offers himself as her lover.

Richard Plantagenet

Richard Plantagenet, who becomes the duke of York, the ambitious leader of the Yorkist party. He is the nephew of Edmund Mortimer. He proclaims his title to the English throne and forces Henry to make him his heir.

Edmund Mortimer

Edmund Mortimer, the earl of March, an elderly Yorkist heir who bequeaths his cause to Richard.

The duke of Bedford

The duke of Bedford, Henry VI’s uncle, regent of France.

Thomas Beaufort

Thomas Beaufort, the duke of Exeter, Henry’s great-uncle.

Henry VI, Part 1 Character Analysis

Gloucester (Duke of Gloucester)

He is the Lord Protector of the young Henry VI. As such, it is his task to "proclaim young Henry king" (I.i.169), which he does in IV.i. He...

(The entire section is 328 words.)

Henry (King Henry VI of England)

The young King Henry VI is in every way the opposite of Henry V, his well-loved, warlike father. He is ineffectual, weak, and inconsistent....

(The entire section is 523 words.)

Plantagenet (Richard Plantagenet, afterwards Duke of York)

He is the Yorkist claimant to the throne after the death of Edmund Mortimer. His first appearance is in II.iv, the scene in the Temple...

(The entire section is 344 words.)

Other Characters

Alanson (Duke of Alanson)
He is a French nobleman in the entourage of Charles the Dolphin. At the siege of Orleance, he begins...

(The entire section is 4352 words.)