Henry VI Part 1: Act 2, Scene 2

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Act 2, scene 2

 
Next morning, Bedford sounds the retreat, as the French have fled. Talbot orders the body of Salisbury to be brought in. He intends to have Salisbury buried in the main church in the city and engrave the story of the sack of Orléans, and how he was killed by French treachery, on his tomb. Talbot wonders why he did not see Charles and Joan in the fight, but Bedford thinks he saw them running away, arm-in-arm like lovers. He means to follow them as soon as he can.
 
A Messenger enters and tells Talbot that a French noblewoman, the Countess of Auvergne, has heard of his glorious reputation in battle and wishes to meet him. She invites him to visit her at her castle. Talbot agrees out of respect for the power of woman’s kindness, which may persuade in situations when great orators fail. He whispers an order privately to one of his officers and departs to visit the Countess.
 
Analysis
 
Talbot and Burgundy’s report that Joan fled from battle, arm-in-arm with Charles, portrays her and the heir to the French throne as cowards as well as possible lovers.
 
The bringing on of the body of Salisbury mirrors the appearance of the body of Henry V in the first scene of the play. The deaths of both these military heroes suggest that the age of England’s glory under Henry V is over, for the time being at least.
 
 

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