The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0951 Monday, 7 June 1999.
From: Dana Wilson <
Date: Sunday, 6 Jun 1999 11:58:45 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Henry VI, pt 1
Reading Henry VI, pt 1 last night, I was confused by the "victory" of
Joan Pucelle in Act, I, v. In line 15, she tells Talbot to overtake her
if he can, this says to me that it was she who retreated.
In H6.1, I, I, 75, we are told that Orleans had fallen to the French.
In H6.1, I, III, 1-10, Charles tells how the English siege is so faint
that he is to lay near by Orleans. Were as in I,v,36, Talbot proclaims
that Joan has entered the city. This suggests to me that the French
were pushed out of their camp by the city and forced to take refuge with
in the city walls.
No wonder in H6.1, II,i,1-15, Talbot is convinced that it is deceit by
art and baleful sorcery which lead the French to "carouse" and "banquet"
I wonder if on a certain level the author does not lack knowledge of
basic military strategy which would show that in being forced behind
walls the French had lost positioning.
I noted another such discord. The author does not seem to know the
technical definition of a 'skirmisher', but has only a general idea.
This comes through clearly in H6.1 I,ii,34, where all the English
'skirmishers' are compared to Goliases. The David and Golias story is
thought to be a record of the defeat of heavy infantry by 'skirmishers',
which are those light infantry who make quick attacks and then flee
engagement for the purpose of disrupting opposing military formations.
In this sense, Joan's taunt to Tal (H6.1, I, v, 15) to overtake her if
he can implies that she is using the skirmisher technique of giving
ground to overextend the opposing line.
Yours in the work,