Henry VI, Part 1 Characters

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. 


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. 


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


Duke of Exeter is King Henry’s great uncle; historically he is the same as the Exeter of Henry V


The Bishop of Winchester is the bastard son of the King’s great-grandfather. 


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. 


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). 


Earl of Warwick, of the Yorkist party, is a young English lord, a friend of Richard Plantagenet’s. 


The Earl of Salisbury is an English nobleman and war commander who is besieging Orléans, and a great friend of Talbot’s. 


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


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. 


John Talbot is the son of Lord Talbot, whom he loves and admires deeply. 


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


Mortimer is an English lord who has been imprisoned for most of his life. 


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. 


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. 


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 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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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.


Charles, Dauphin of France, and later King, is King Henry’s rival claimant to the throne of France. 


Reignier, Duke of Anjou is an impoverished French nobleman who holds the purely cosmetic title of King of Naples. 


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. 


The Duke of Alanson is a French nobleman, one of Charles the Dolphin’s generals. 


The Bastard of Orléans is a French nobleman, the first to meet Joan de Pucelle and the one who brings her to Charles’s camp. 


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


Master Gunner is in charge of the French artillery at Orléans. 


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. 


General of the French Force at Bordeaux detests Talbot, and rejoices to be able to inform him that he has fallen into a trap from which he cannot escape.


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. 


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


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. 


Joan de Pucelle is history’s Joan of Arc, though she is no saint in this play. 


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 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. 


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


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. 


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


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.


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 First Warder of the Tower refuses to open the gates to Gloucester, as he has his orders not to.


The Second Warder of the Tower insists that no-one can be let in, whoever they are.


Gloucester's First Serving Attendant follows his master and fights for him at the Tower of London, and continues to brawl with Winchester’s men in the street. 


Gloucester's Second Serving Attendant insists that he and his friends and family will fight to the death for Gloucester’s honor. 


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


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


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.


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


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.


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


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