Henry VI Part 1: Act 4, Scene 2

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Act 4, scene 2

 
The action shifts to the English forces outside the gates of the French city of Bordeaux. Talbot summons the French General to a parley. When the French General appears on the city walls, Talbot tells him he must surrender or face an attack from the English that will result in bloodshed, famine, and the burning of the city. The General replies that he is confident that the city can withstand an English attack. He also predicts that Talbot will be killed in the battle.
 
Talbot hears Charles’s army approaching. Talbot worries that his troops are surrounded by the enemy, but rallies them to fight bravely.
 
Analysis
 
Talbot’s threatening speech to the French General prefigures Exeter’s speeches to the French king in Shakespeare’s later play, Henry V, at the end of Act 2, scene 4. The two speeches may be compared to see how much Shakespeare matured as a poet and dramatist by the time he wrote Henry V.
 
The French General predicts Talbot’s death in the coming battle, an example of foreshadowing.
 

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