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Henry V

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This exclusive collection of the Bard's works has been designed specifically for readers new to Shakespeare's rich literary legacy. Each of the plays is presented unabridged and in large print, copiously annotated and preceded by a character summary and commentary. Brief scene synopses clarify confusing plots, while incisive essays describe the historical context and Shake This exclusive collection of the Bard's works has been designed specifically for readers new to Shakespeare's rich literary legacy. Each of the plays is presented unabridged and in large print, copiously annotated and preceded by a character summary and commentary. Brief scene synopses clarify confusing plots, while incisive essays describe the historical context and Shakespeare's sources. The explanatory notes are written clearly and simply, illustrated, and positioned right next to the text -- no more flipping pages back and forth to squint over microscopic footnotes! Topics for further discussion, critical comments, related essays, and a chronology of Shakespeare's life and work are included among the appendices to each volume. The books boast fine black-and-white photographs of stagings of the plays at Shakespeare Festivals around the globe. From the wide margins and big print to the extent of explanatory notes -- the full text of each play is presented in the clearest and most accessible format available.


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This exclusive collection of the Bard's works has been designed specifically for readers new to Shakespeare's rich literary legacy. Each of the plays is presented unabridged and in large print, copiously annotated and preceded by a character summary and commentary. Brief scene synopses clarify confusing plots, while incisive essays describe the historical context and Shake This exclusive collection of the Bard's works has been designed specifically for readers new to Shakespeare's rich literary legacy. Each of the plays is presented unabridged and in large print, copiously annotated and preceded by a character summary and commentary. Brief scene synopses clarify confusing plots, while incisive essays describe the historical context and Shakespeare's sources. The explanatory notes are written clearly and simply, illustrated, and positioned right next to the text -- no more flipping pages back and forth to squint over microscopic footnotes! Topics for further discussion, critical comments, related essays, and a chronology of Shakespeare's life and work are included among the appendices to each volume. The books boast fine black-and-white photographs of stagings of the plays at Shakespeare Festivals around the globe. From the wide margins and big print to the extent of explanatory notes -- the full text of each play is presented in the clearest and most accessible format available.

30 review for Henry V

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

    Sure, it's a jingoistic pageant, but it's a great jingoistic pageant, and--besides--it is the most melancholy,ironic, self-aware--and laugh-filled--jingoistic pageant ever staged. In Act V, Henry tells Katherine that together they will produce a son, and that this warlike paragon of chivalry will march to the Holy Land and "take the Turk by the beard." Yet we should know--and Shakespeare's audience certainly knew--that this boy would grow up to be Henry VI, the sickly, prayerful unstable man who Sure, it's a jingoistic pageant, but it's a great jingoistic pageant, and--besides--it is the most melancholy,ironic, self-aware--and laugh-filled--jingoistic pageant ever staged. In Act V, Henry tells Katherine that together they will produce a son, and that this warlike paragon of chivalry will march to the Holy Land and "take the Turk by the beard." Yet we should know--and Shakespeare's audience certainly knew--that this boy would grow up to be Henry VI, the sickly, prayerful unstable man who lost England's hold on France forever and precipitated the Wars of the Roses. This play celebrates the wheel of time and the apotheosis of the golden warrior king whom that wheel's many revolutions--in the course if the preceding ten acts of Henry IV--has produced. And yet it never ceases to be conscious of the fact that success is always fleeting and that not even majesty itself, no matter how magnificent it may be, can last forever.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    A young dynamic king, in his late twenties very ambitious wants and needs to become ruler of two significant nations, the King , Henry v , of England, by a dubious claim has come to conqueror France in the name of peace... he destroys. His father, Henry IV, an usurper murdered his own first cousin to gain the throne, a traitor for sure, however winners write the history books an are accepted as heroes, it will always be this. Nevertheless dies from a horrible disease soon after, justice maybe... A young dynamic king, in his late twenties very ambitious wants and needs to become ruler of two significant nations, the King , Henry v , of England, by a dubious claim has come to conqueror France in the name of peace... he destroys. His father, Henry IV, an usurper murdered his own first cousin to gain the throne, a traitor for sure, however winners write the history books an are accepted as heroes, it will always be this. Nevertheless dies from a horrible disease soon after, justice maybe... But a conspiracy develops to assassinate the English sovereign before even leaving Southampton on his quest. The determined son must overcome; not a good looking man, (or as noble as he is portrayed here) in fact, no charmer... still a great military leader, the royal women aren't quite, let us be frank... pun intended... attracted to, doesn't write poetry or dance well...requires respect some other way, but has a passion for greatness and by slaughter... This can be achieved, only many will perish , as the past and unforeseen days to come relentlessly shows a few men's, dark dreams demolish the numerous other ones. The huge foreign army from across the nearby stormy channel, marches on victorious and unstoppable, relentlessly, bloodily, yet a little uncomfortable, what are they doing here...? One man's desire...the seemingly endless hundred years war continues ...forever. Charles v1, the mad, a very capable monarch of France, when not insane doesn't appear a lot in Shakespeare's play Henry V, not in best of shape in 1415. A great , famous , though brutal battle to determine the future of these two mighty nations is fast approaching, Agincourt, Henry's family gives him loyal support, brothers and uncles, cousins take a major role, he trusts them...with his life. The French are fatally overconfident, chiefly the Dauphin ( historically inaccurate ) and future ruler of his country , he believes, not technically in command of French forces, the Constable of France is , still very influential with a more numerous, powerful army on their own land, the people hate the invaders, how can they lose? And all because William the Conqueror of Normandy, a foreigner from ironically France, in 1066, stole the English crown from the rightful, native king. Soldiers not law, make everything possible... Or the beautiful daughter of King Charles, Catherine could marry Henry and settle the conflict... And Joan of Arc, "The Maid of Orleans," won't arrive on the scene for almost 15 years...The Bard of Avon , William Shakespeare's the magnificent, the peerless...better plays, written over 400 years ago, imagine ...What is moral ...the perennial question asked and probably the answer never entirely satisfies everyone, remember...people wear different shades of clothes...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Henry IV, Part 2 (Wars of the Roses, #3), William Shakespeare Henry IV, Part 2 is a history play by William Shakespeare believed to have been written between 1596 and 1599. It is the third part of a tetralogy, preceded by Richard II and Henry IV, Part 1 and succeeded by Henry V. The play is often seen as an extension of aspects of Henry IV, Part 1, rather than a straightforward continuation of the historical narrative, placing more emphasis on the highly popular character of Falstaff and introduc Henry IV, Part 2 (Wars of the Roses, #3), William Shakespeare Henry IV, Part 2 is a history play by William Shakespeare believed to have been written between 1596 and 1599. It is the third part of a tetralogy, preceded by Richard II and Henry IV, Part 1 and succeeded by Henry V. The play is often seen as an extension of aspects of Henry IV, Part 1, rather than a straightforward continuation of the historical narrative, placing more emphasis on the highly popular character of Falstaff and introducing other comic figures as part of his entourage, including Ancient Pistol, Doll Tearsheet, and Justice Robert Shallow. Several scenes specifically parallel episodes in Part 1. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز دهم ماه ژانویه سال 1993 میلادی عنوان: هنری پنجم؛ نویسنده: ویلیام شکسپیر؛ مترجم: احمد خزاعی؛ تهران، قطره، 1371، در 202 ص، چاپ دوم 1384، شابک: 9643415333؛ چاپ پنجم 1393، شابک: 9789643415334؛ موضوع: نمایشنامه هنری پنجم شاه انگلستان از سال 1387 میلادی تا سال 1422 میلادی - نگارش سده 16 م هنری پنجم نمایشنامه‌ ای تاریخی اثر ویلیام شکسپیر است که در سال 1599 میلادی نوشته شده است. این نمایشنامه داستان هنری پنجم پادشاه انگلستان را با تمرکز بر رخدادهای پیش، تا پس از نبرد «آزینکورت»، در سال 1415 میلادی، از سری جنگ‌های صد ساله، بین انگلستان و فرانسه، را بیان می‌کند. براساس دیدگاه جناب آقای احمد خزاعی، مترجم آثار شکسپیر، این نمایشنامه در واقع حسن ختامی است، بر چهارگانه ی شکسپیر، که شامل نمایشنامه‌ های: «ریچارد دوم»، «هنری چهارم: قسمت اول»، و «هنری چهارم: قسمت دوم»، می‌شود. دیگر مترجم آثار شکسپیر، جناب آقای ابوالحسن تهامی، باور دارند، که این نمایشنامه، اوج مهارت نمایشنامه‌ نویسی شکسپیر، در بخش نمایشنامه‌ های تاریخی ست، به طوری که، شکسپیر، ده سال تمام، موضوع این نمایش را در ذهن می‌پرورانده، و با آن زندگی می‌کرده است. از این نمایشنامه، تئاترها و فیلم‌های بسیاری تولید شده که از بهترین و نام آشناترین آنها، می‌توان به فیلم‌های: «هنری پنجم» در سال 1944 میلادی، ساخته ی: لارنس الیویه، و «هنری پنجم» در سال 1989 میلادی به کارگردانی «کنت برانا»، اشاره کرد. ا. شربیانی

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    Do I hear the drums of war? Hal has drawn all the attention away from divided England with a time-honored ploy of kings of any unsure stripe... Let's kick the shit out of France! Even though Henry V is a bright light and his fortunes burn ever brighter, it's hard to go through this story without feeling a lot of heavy sorrow for how he burned up his friends in his rise and how he shed no tears as he learned of all his youthful adventurer's deaths, save one, and he was only a boy in a skirmish aft Do I hear the drums of war? Hal has drawn all the attention away from divided England with a time-honored ploy of kings of any unsure stripe... Let's kick the shit out of France! Even though Henry V is a bright light and his fortunes burn ever brighter, it's hard to go through this story without feeling a lot of heavy sorrow for how he burned up his friends in his rise and how he shed no tears as he learned of all his youthful adventurer's deaths, save one, and he was only a boy in a skirmish after the war had been won. Truly, this play is the rock-star legend played in blood, honor, and glory. He burns so bright that he snuffs himself out in practically no time. Who knows what kind of king he would have been had he lived to know his son. *shiver* What kinds of tragedies might have been avoided, such as losing France, sending England into a 30 year civil strife, and so much grief and poverty, besides? And yet, this is the story of the greatest King of England, the one that captures all our hearts and minds, and me, I'm not even English and I don't particularly care a whiff for royalty at all! :) Henry IV part 1: "Yet herein will I imitate the sun, Who doth permit the base contagious clouds To smother up his beauty from the world, That, when he please again to be himself, Being wanted, he may be more wondered at By breaking through the foul and ugly mist Of vapors that did seem to strangle him." The sun shook off the base clouds, indeed, to clothed the world in his naked splendor, seeing Falstaff dead by hanging and nearly all his chums in the ground. Is his early death his fate for having dishonored the dishonorable? *sigh*

  5. 4 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. For he to day that sheds his blood with me, shall be my brother.” ― William Shakespeare, Henry V, Act 4, Scene 3 It is hard to find fault with Henry V. It isn't Shakespeare's BEST, but his best are almost mythicly high and unassailable. But Henry V is pretty damn good and it owns one of the greatsest and most memorable monologues ever (Hal's St. Crispin's Day speech). It also has more French imbeded into it than any other Shakespeare play than I can thi “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. For he to day that sheds his blood with me, shall be my brother.” ― William Shakespeare, Henry V, Act 4, Scene 3 It is hard to find fault with Henry V. It isn't Shakespeare's BEST, but his best are almost mythicly high and unassailable. But Henry V is pretty damn good and it owns one of the greatsest and most memorable monologues ever (Hal's St. Crispin's Day speech). It also has more French imbeded into it than any other Shakespeare play than I can think of. So, while I applaud the Tennis diplomacy scene, I'm not a huge fan of the Katherine learning English from Alice. Meh. Not every serve goes over the net Will. But still, taken as a whole it is a great play. The Battle of Agincourt is high drama and seems to match the drum of the audiences' heart with the drum beat of war. Everytime I read Act 4 I feel moved, inspired, transfixed. Shakespeare might not have caught Livy as the world's greatest composer of fictionalized historical speeches, but he was definitely a gifted second to Livy. Some of my favorite lines: “...for coward dogs Most spend their mouths when what they seem to threaten runs far before them.” (Act 2, Scene 3) “In peace there's nothing so becomes a man As modest stillness and humility: But when the blast of war blows in our ears, Then imitate the action of the tiger; Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;” (Act 3, Scene 1) “I am afeard there are few die well that die in battle; for how can they charitably dispose of anything when blood is their argument?” (Act 4, Scene 1) “There is some soul of goodness in things evil, Would men observingly distill it out.” (Act 4, Scene 1) “Let life be short, else shame will be too long.” (Act 4, Scene 5) “Nice customs curtsy to great kings.” (Act 5, Scene 2)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Leonard Gaya

    Henry V is indeed the grand finale of Shakespeare’s second historical tetralogy, right after Henry IV, Part 2. So here, exit Falstaff, whose death is recounted by Mistress Quickly in the first act, and we are now in the presence of a conquering and “warlike Harry”, who is like chalk and cheese when compared with his former self, the dissolute Prince Hal. A few of Falstaff and Hal’s companions remain however on the battlefield and provide some colourful moments. Henry V is an incredibly dynamic pl Henry V is indeed the grand finale of Shakespeare’s second historical tetralogy, right after Henry IV, Part 2. So here, exit Falstaff, whose death is recounted by Mistress Quickly in the first act, and we are now in the presence of a conquering and “warlike Harry”, who is like chalk and cheese when compared with his former self, the dissolute Prince Hal. A few of Falstaff and Hal’s companions remain however on the battlefield and provide some colourful moments. Henry V is an incredibly dynamic play, performed at the very opening of the Globe (“this wooden O”), but feels, in retrospect, as if it had been written for the big screen: the action leaps in space from one act to the next, from London to Southampton, to Harfleur, to Paris, to Agincourt, back to England and back again to France. So much so, that Shakespeare felt the need to add a Chorus, who, like the rolling billboards at the beginning of each Star Wars episode, provides some context and clarity to a possibly inattentive or disoriented audience. In fact, Shakespeare boldly tramples all the rules of Aristotle’s Poetics underfoot, just as Harry successfully rides roughshod over all rules of military strategy. Then, there is this effervescence of languages, as the story of Henry V spans across most of Europe: Scotland (Jamy), Ireland (MacMorris), Wales (Fluellen), England (the court of Henry V), France (the court of Charles VI), Bavaria and Milan (the Queen of France), Burgundy (the Duke Philip the Good). The blending of accents and idioms and the misunderstandings that follow are absolutely toe-curling and quite often uproarious. (I am guessing that, had Shakespeare lived in our time, he most probably would have drawn a great tragicomedy out of the present Brexit situation!) Finally, unlike most of Shakespeare's Histories, which in essence are tragedies, Henry V is fundamentally an epic poem. More than in any other play, there are moments in it of absolutely breathtaking heroic flight. There is the gripping scene before the walls of Harfleur, of course: “Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide, / Hold hard the breath, and bend up every spirit / To his full height” (III,1). Above all, there is the famous St Crispin’s Day speech, just before the battlefield at Agincourt: “And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by / From this day to the ending of the world” (IV,3). This text is indeed shorter, but entirely on the level, in my opinion, of even the Bhagavad Gita, another divine address ahead of an epic battle. Apparently, this sort of eve-of-battle-speech later became a prerequisite in epic stories, especially in movies: from Chaplin’s Great Dictator to The Return of the King, Braveheart, Gladiator, 300, The Deathly Hallows, Game of Thrones, and many others… not to mention the great military and political speeches recorded throughout recent history, from Winston Churchill, to Charles de Gaulle, to JFK.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    If ever I had to have a crush on an actual English King, it might have been Henry V. It probably would have been in vain since he doesn't seem to have had much affection for anyone but who cares. The scandalous youth vanished some time before Henry IV died and when Henry V was crowned king, he showed the world. Hal has become a stern but fair ruler who apparently didn't smile (or only slightly and not very often) and was a cunning politician who made sure England's treasury was refilled. But this If ever I had to have a crush on an actual English King, it might have been Henry V. It probably would have been in vain since he doesn't seem to have had much affection for anyone but who cares. The scandalous youth vanished some time before Henry IV died and when Henry V was crowned king, he showed the world. Hal has become a stern but fair ruler who apparently didn't smile (or only slightly and not very often) and was a cunning politician who made sure England's treasury was refilled. But this play is not about the whole history of Henry V. Instead, we begin when his fleet sets out to France. You see, His Majesty (a term introduced by Richard II by the way) wanted to "grab the Turks by their beards" but conquering lands in France was a more pressing matter (and probably cheaper too, although the re-opening of the Hundred Years' War was costly enough). Right at the beginning the play deals with an assassination attempt that actually took place. Some of you might know the phrase "Once more unto the breach, dear friends..." - it's from this play. There are quite a few battles Henry has to fight, but none as remarkable as Agincourt that immortalized Henry V. The English were vastly outnumbered but Henry proved to be a fantastic fighter himself but also a brilliant strategist. The play also shows how the king, the night before the battle at Agincourt, walks amongst his soldiers to ensure their motivation (according to historical records, Henry V really did care about his people, the soldiers as much as the noblemen and even the poor). The battle is won and what does a happy victor do afterwards? Right, wooing a girl. In this case Catherine de Valois. The play funnily illustrates the difficulty of courtship even for a victorious king by playing the neither-spoke-the-other's-language card. Not very realistic but it was good fun. Since Charles VI (the then French king) is quite weak, it doesn't take long until Henry V is proclaimed his heir. The play almost ends here, were it not for a sort of epilogue foreshadowing what will happen after Henry V's death (the loss of French territory and bad reign of his infant son). More of that in my reviews about Henry VI (3 parts in total) however. This is definitely my favourite of Shakespeare's histories (so far). Probably because Henry V is such a great character. The real-life king must have been a sight to behold. An impeccable knight with wonderful manners, very intelligent, stern but just, ... *swoons* This play brings out the best im him, naturally, and only focuses on what went right in Henry's campaign in France - which was quite a lot, the number of territories he conquered is staggering! Too bad the end sort of diminished that (but only almost). As for the play itself: all is well that ends well. ;)

  8. 4 out of 5

    James Tivendale

    This is probably my favourite Shakespeare play. As always the language and poetry is amazing. I love reading Shakespeare as I often find my head swaying in time to the rhythm of the verse. I sometime speak it out loud too and hope I don't wake up my sleeping father lol. This is one of the longest Shakespeare plays I have read however; he is presenting an important period in the history of Britain. A key point in the War of the Roses. Henry V, with his great-granddad Edward III are my favourite Br This is probably my favourite Shakespeare play. As always the language and poetry is amazing. I love reading Shakespeare as I often find my head swaying in time to the rhythm of the verse. I sometime speak it out loud too and hope I don't wake up my sleeping father lol. This is one of the longest Shakespeare plays I have read however; he is presenting an important period in the history of Britain. A key point in the War of the Roses. Henry V, with his great-granddad Edward III are my favourite British monarchs for their patriotism, warrior like rule and the need to expand this great nation of ours. This mainly depicts the build up to, the battle of; and the aftermath of Agincourt - 1415. I have read some of his plays where he despises his main characters such as Richard III in the play of the same name and Achilles in Trolius and Cressida. I think Henry V Shakespeare truly respected for his great legacy and it shows in the writing - I don't think he has written such an honourable character. It is mainly about the royals of England and there counterparts in France but also follows different soldier ranks to to see the battle from numerous perspectives. It also contains a few comedy moments, such as Henry dressing up as a soldier to see what the army really think of him. Some of the monologues are amazing and motivational regarding the war which really heightens the legendary status that Shakespeare is presenting. I might now watch the BBC version of this featuring Tom Hiddlestone as the titular character to see how it compares to how I envisaged it in my mind - & of course I want to see this at the Royal Shakespeare society in Stratford as soon as possible. Once more unto the breach my friend, once more. James x www.youandi.wordpress.com

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    Henry V is often quite disturbing at times, but in my opinion it's one of Shakespeare's best and most original plays.

  10. 5 out of 5

    notgettingenough

    If you go to the Holden St theatres one of the things they have on during the 2017 Fringe Festival in Adelaide is Macbeth with zombies. As you may do, but I don't. My faith in the resilience of Shakespeare goes so far and no further. I suspect this on its own put me off Henry V Man and Monarch, mashup of Henry IV, V and VI. How wrong was I to judge the one on the back of the other. It's a one man show by Australian RADA graduate Brett Brown and it's a wondrous thing to behold, this young man bein If you go to the Holden St theatres one of the things they have on during the 2017 Fringe Festival in Adelaide is Macbeth with zombies. As you may do, but I don't. My faith in the resilience of Shakespeare goes so far and no further. I suspect this on its own put me off Henry V Man and Monarch, mashup of Henry IV, V and VI. How wrong was I to judge the one on the back of the other. It's a one man show by Australian RADA graduate Brett Brown and it's a wondrous thing to behold, this young man being so consummately and maturely Shakespearean. It is a very dense show, we are thrown straight into the lion's den of that bloody warring period. I wanted to see it again, which we did the next night, and indeed if I could see it again I would. Why oh why am I going to Eric Bogle tonight??? I do hope he is good, I don't want to resent another chance to have seen Henry. As it happens, in this particular presentation of Henry V, a member of the audience stands in for Catherine (or as Shakepeare has it, Katharine) of France. She is to be married to him.... Rest, as usual, is here: https://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpre...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Rollins

    Following on the heels of Much Ado we can see that Shakespeare's powers are at their zenith during this time period. I love Henry V and have read it several times out loud to the children and we have watched several versions. It is also a wonderful play for boys who love the St. Crispin's Day Speech on the fields of Agincourt. One of my favorite cinematic scenes of all time is Kenneth Brannagh's Dona Nobis scene after the battle where he carries the little boy killed by the French. Perhaps it is Following on the heels of Much Ado we can see that Shakespeare's powers are at their zenith during this time period. I love Henry V and have read it several times out loud to the children and we have watched several versions. It is also a wonderful play for boys who love the St. Crispin's Day Speech on the fields of Agincourt. One of my favorite cinematic scenes of all time is Kenneth Brannagh's Dona Nobis scene after the battle where he carries the little boy killed by the French. Perhaps it is the music which makes it so powerful. We also like to recite The St. Crispin's Day speech with Amy Grant's Highland Cathedral playing in the background. The rich layering of the play-the class and race relationships, the humor and pathos, the love story, the underdog victory, all make this play one of Shakespeare's best.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    I have said, with support from a couple of my senior Shakespeareans at SAA (like Ralph Berry), that Henry V is the comedy Shakespeare promised at the end of 2 Henry 4, epilog: "to continue the story, with Sir John [Falstaff] in it. " But after the actor who played Falstaff disappeared (Will Kemp--probably to tour Germany), Shakespeare created a very different kind of comedy, a reconciliation of conflicting nationalities in the usual comic resolution, however preposterous: marriage. And in a thor I have said, with support from a couple of my senior Shakespeareans at SAA (like Ralph Berry), that Henry V is the comedy Shakespeare promised at the end of 2 Henry 4, epilog: "to continue the story, with Sir John [Falstaff] in it. " But after the actor who played Falstaff disappeared (Will Kemp--probably to tour Germany), Shakespeare created a very different kind of comedy, a reconciliation of conflicting nationalities in the usual comic resolution, however preposterous: marriage. And in a thoroughly modern (even modernist) touch, the spirit of comic reconciliation pervades the play through its linguistic playfulness. This is Shakespeare's only play using national accents: French, Welsh, Scottish, Irish and of course English. I would speculate that the "Great Britain" only enshrined around a century later (1705?) was initiated under James I, and here in Shakespeare's Henry the Fifth, previewed. The comic interlude of Fluellen and Jamy, and of Gower and Macmorris, features the strong Scottish and Welsh accent, where for instance Fluellen says, "Alexander the Pig." He is corrected, "Don't you mean Alexander the Great?" F, "The great, or the pig, are all one reckonings..." (Welsh "b" unvoiced, "p.") Later in the play, the King "claims kin" with Fluellen's despised Welsh minority; "For I am Welsh, you know, good countryman" (4.7.105). And Fluellen may speak English "funny," but he is an excellent soldier, and very knowledgeable about the history of warfare, especially Roman. My article on: see Fran Teague, "Acting Funny in Shakespeare," which I heartily recommend with self-interest. She ran the Philadelphia seminar at the Shakespeare Association national convention there (1990), where I recall seeing Mets outfielder Daryl Strawberry (in town to play the Phillies?) in the Society Hill hotel--looking thinner than I imagined from TV. My article in her book got quoted in Maley's books on Shakespeare and Wales, and Scotland, and another scholar's books on International Shakespeare.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    As I finish the second tetralogy's finale, King Henry V , I contemplate Shakespeare's effect on the presentation of history. He devotes nearly half of his theatrical contributions to stories plotted in reality rather than born of his imagination. I have argued before that Shakespeare, blessed with a genius' perspective, sees art not only in the creative arena but in reality. The presentation of the human condition happens among humans and not within the faculties of one's mind. Yet in order to As I finish the second tetralogy's finale, King Henry V , I contemplate Shakespeare's effect on the presentation of history. He devotes nearly half of his theatrical contributions to stories plotted in reality rather than born of his imagination. I have argued before that Shakespeare, blessed with a genius' perspective, sees art not only in the creative arena but in reality. The presentation of the human condition happens among humans and not within the faculties of one's mind. Yet in order to present these conditions to his audience, he carefully embellishes, contrasts and juxtaposes the characters and circumstances that best display them. If we want to know the events and scenarios in which these kings lived and acted, we can read school text books. If we want to know the people, the conditions of their lives, the reasons for their choices, we must turn to Shakespeare and decide if his character interpretations best suit history. Perhaps while in school as a boy in Stratford Upon Avon, he studied his textbooks and imagined the joys, sorrows, regrets, ambitions and malicious conceits in each of these kings which best helped him understand and learn the history of his native land. In King Henry V, we see the clergy, sparked to cunning by a present bill which would strip much of their wealth, manipulate a king into a conquest of France in order to protect their assets. The king would depend on their funding and would never dream of undermining his own enterprise by passing a bill which would rob his benefactors. Yet Henry V transforms the bitterness of such purposes, born of deceipt and cunning, into a resulting eden of unity and equality, love and justice. If John Falstaff truly ascended to Arthur's bosom, he must feel right at home, as if in Prince Henry's good graces again. Outside the royal court, Shakespeare presents microchosmic examples of this unity. Almost immediately after the nobles resolve for France, Bardolph mediates between Pistol and Nym and begs of their friendship with his sword. And, most apparently, he devotes Act V to the wooing of Princess Katharine, an effort equalled to that of conquering France on the battlefield. Yet the union of England and France comes with their marriage rather than with Henry's sword. Such a union signifies love and peace rather than dictatorship and enslavement. A marriage of love and justice constitutes a unity and differs from a marriage of dominion enforced by a heavy hand - only the former resounds with true unity as both parties maintain a semblance of themselves whereas the marriage of the heavy hand leaves only one party truly alive. How can one unite with nothing? Alas, with master craftsmanship, King Henry V guides the circumstances under which he administers his justice and promotes equality. He manipultes Cambridge, Scroop and Grey to pronounce the severity of their own sentence rather than condemn them as one higher and of more import. He allows justice to decide the matter and in so doing thinks himself below justice and equal in human value to the defendant. Consider also how he and Williams, under false pretense, exchange gloves to don in their caps as a mark of their violent bet. Then compare this to the feud between Bardolph and Fluellen over the cultural mark of the leek in Fluellen's cap. Both scenarios pit two men, of social, economic and cultural differences, against each other only to resolve in a sense of equality. Whereas the king's disguise, possibly more appropriate for his character, allows Williams to see him as a social equal, the king again allows mercy and justice to waylay the promised violence rather than crush him as a man with more power. And in this action, Williams feels worthy and of equal import himself. Then Fluellen, a Welshman like the king, not only revels in this common ground, but displays his cultural heritage proudly and feels empowered to squabble with Pistol who would rebuke it. The king not only preaches lofty poetics to inspire his soldiers to war, but acts equally valiant and just which inspires his soldiers to a level of respect and brotherhood. By disgarding signs of distinction and leaving only their common bonds as men, they find their unity amongst themselves and their equality. On the eve of battle, Henry, once again, wallows among the likes of Bardolph, Poins and Falstaff. Even now the pomp of majesty has failed to intoxicate his spirit. He calls ceremony a pitiable reward for the strains of kingly duty when compared to the simple happiness enjoyed by peasants. He does not abandon that strain and revel in ceremony as Richard II had. He carries the soldier's lives on his shoulders and his father's guilt for Richard's fall on his brow. And all the while he finds a way to disrobe himself of all such pomp and unite himself with his countrymen under common banners of honor, bloodshed and English spirit - inspiring in them a feeling of worth and in him a share in the peasant's simple happiness. We can call this war an imperial conquest, and surely the history books describe it thus. But like a parent reading a storybook aloud to their children, enacting the voices and characters from the page, Shakespeare resurrects a character, the man behind the historical events, and therefore lends meaning and empathy to those long dead. King Henry V may have inspired a renewed sense of worth in us and revived our sense of humanity within the monarchs. I miss Falstaff. But in closing my reading of the second tetralogy, I credit him for this king. Their times together cultivated a benign monarch who never forgot his naturally common bonds with his base countrymen.

  14. 4 out of 5

    David Sarkies

    An English Hero 13 January 2011 I originally read this play because it was set during the Hundred Years War and I wanted to use it as a primary source. Unfortunately it is not a primary source since it was written 150 years after the events depicted and the essay was about the English Parliament's influence on the war, which this play has nothing to do with. This is another example of why I would love to go back and redo those classes to see how well my essays come out now that I know a lot more. An English Hero 13 January 2011 I originally read this play because it was set during the Hundred Years War and I wanted to use it as a primary source. Unfortunately it is not a primary source since it was written 150 years after the events depicted and the essay was about the English Parliament's influence on the war, which this play has nothing to do with. This is another example of why I would love to go back and redo those classes to see how well my essays come out now that I know a lot more. I am still surprised that I managed to pass. This play is a piece of propaganda - it depicts Henry V as a hero. Well, to the English he is a hero as he revived the flagging war against France with a number of decisive victories, the greatest being Agnincourt, the battle upon which the play is focused. The play forms part of Shakespeare's War of the Roses cycle which begins with Richard II and ends with Richard III. I won't go into too many details about whether Henry V deserves his title as a hero, because, as mentioned, to the English he is a hero. He defeated the French and almost conquered France (though this was really an extension of the Norman Conquest, because when the Normans conquered England they retained their capital at Rouen, and as the nation developed, the Norman lands became part of England). Further, this play focuses only on Agincourt, the lead up to the battle, the battle itself, and it's aftermath. Also in this play we see Shakespeare's rather crude humour with the French Princess attempting to learn English (and failing). The play ends with Henry taking his prize: the French Princess. Really, there isn't all that much to this play. It is simply a retelling of history by the victors, and even though the French did end up kicking the English out of France, England still ended up as the victors, and were able to write the history of the war to suit their own purposes. It was only because of the rise of Joan of Arc that the English lost, though it is interesting to note that England probably could never have controlled France simply because every bit of France that they took there would always be more France to take, and the further they move the more dispersed their forces became and thus the more difficult it become to put down rebellions. I recently saw a performance of Henry V (twice) and you can read more about this play here. I've also written a second blog post on a version that I saw in period costume (and all the characters were played by men).

  15. 5 out of 5

    João Fernandes

    (The Battle of Agincourt, 15th century illustration) Edward II (you may remember him as the annoying whiny prince from Braveheart) married Isabella of France, daughter of King Charles VI. From their unwanted marriage sprung King Edward III, who apparently is the wet dream of English chivalry (we can't go half a play without hearing someone praise this guy). Edward III claims the throne of France against his distant cousin Philip and the seemingly eternal conflict known as the Hundred Years War beg (The Battle of Agincourt, 15th century illustration) Edward II (you may remember him as the annoying whiny prince from Braveheart) married Isabella of France, daughter of King Charles VI. From their unwanted marriage sprung King Edward III, who apparently is the wet dream of English chivalry (we can't go half a play without hearing someone praise this guy). Edward III claims the throne of France against his distant cousin Philip and the seemingly eternal conflict known as the Hundred Years War begins. Now, Richard II was much too troubled with Irish rebels and Bolingbroke, and Bolingbroke too distracted dealing with rebels and dreams of holy crusades. But now reigns Harry Monmouth, and it is time to claim the throne of France for the Plantagenets. I love this play. I love Henry as a nigh perfect king, and I love his sweet interactions with Catherine. However, in this review all I want to point out is how incredibly biased this play is. Of course, this is an English play about the forefathers of the contemporary Tudor dynasty. The French were never going to be the heroes and the English invaders. But next time you read the play, see how the clergy, nobles and his father's last words have driven Henry to conquest. See how, in the perspective of a French commoner at the time, Henry is nothing more than an invader come to kill them, to break their peace and fertilise French soil with French blood. Think about how all this is based on God's will and the right of one type of law over another. How every French lord and the Dauphin just happen to be wimpy, cocky pricks. Think about how many widows cursed Crispin and Crispianus for having abandoned France on their day. How whilst in England St. Crispin's Day is celebrated with the heroes showing their battle scars just like Harry describes in his incredible speech, in France widows and orphans cry in anguish at the memory of the fallen. Harry would have been a great king for France had he lived longer, but if the heavens overlooked his father's faults at Agincourt, they soon repaid them to his son, doomed to lose an empire he hadn't even won yet. In perspective, was Agincourt really worth anything at all?

  16. 5 out of 5

    leynes

    Henry V is a history play written by Shakespeare in 1599. It tells the story of Henry V of House Lancaster who ruled England from 1413 to 1422. The play focuses on the events before and after the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, which marked a major English victory in the Hundred Years' War against France. It is also the final part of Shakespeare's tetralogy consisting of Richard II, Henry IV Part 1, Henry IV Part 2 and Henry V. In the previous installments (which I haven't read) Henry has been depi Henry V is a history play written by Shakespeare in 1599. It tells the story of Henry V of House Lancaster who ruled England from 1413 to 1422. The play focuses on the events before and after the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, which marked a major English victory in the Hundred Years' War against France. It is also the final part of Shakespeare's tetralogy consisting of Richard II, Henry IV Part 1, Henry IV Part 2 and Henry V. In the previous installments (which I haven't read) Henry has been depicted as a wild and undisciplined young prince who slowly but surely matured into a respectable and responsible man. I can't say I am surprised that this is my least favorite Shakespeare play. I really love the Bard's comedies and tragedies, but the histories never woed me. I thought that Henry V was an extremely boring play. I didn't connect to any of the characters, I didn't care for the fighting, and even the infamous speeches couldn't lure me in – no, not even the St. Crispin's Day Speech. I found the plot very hard to follow and through huge chunks of this I didn't really know what was going on. The only part of Henry V which I thoroughly enjoyed were the introductions before each act by the Chorus. I loved how witty the prose was, and how metatextual. In the prologue the Chorus delivers a formal apology for the low production value of the play (I mean how awesome is that?), and also hints at the fact that the world, too, is a stage nested in the larger structure of imitation. My favorite lines of the Chorus were the ones in which he initiated a change in location making humorous references to getting seasick (see: We'll not offend one stomach with our play.) or the ones in which he prompted the audience to use their own imagination and to fill in the gaps (and in the literal sense the ranks of the depicted armies):And let us, ciphers to this great account, On your imaginary forces work. Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts: Into a thousand parts divide one man, And make imaginary puissance. Turning th'accomplishments of many years Into an hour-glass: for the which supply, Admit me Chorus to this history, Who Prologue-like you humble patience pray, Gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play.The first Act opens up with Henry's lords advising him to invade France. They welcome the herald from France who brings them a box of treasure for the new king, however, the treasure is nothing but a box of tennis balls that Dauphin, the Prince of France, sent them as a joke about Henry's wild days as a prince, taunting Henry that he is unfit to rule even England, let alone France. Henry, naturally, is super pissed at this and vows that he'll change the tennis balls for cannon balls, and is ready for shit to go down: So get you hence in peace; and tell the Dauphin / His jest will savour but of shallow wit / When thousands weep more than did laugh at it. Oh my! What then ensues is everything you'd expect from a bloody war: bitches get ready to fight, some bitches die, some bitches turn out to be snitches (I'm looking at you, Cambridge!), the main bitches don't shy away from letting the lowlier bitches do the dirty work (I'm looking at you, Fluellen!), and bitches get their throats cut. I didn't care for any of that stuff, and so the only subplot that I found remotely interesting was the one of Katherine, the Princess of France. She knows that if Henry will win the war, she'll have to marry him, and so she asks her maid Alice to teach her some English. What then ensues is comedy on a high philological level, because some of the words Katherine is learning have quite a different meaning in her mother tongue. It was a treat to read for someone who is both fluent in English and in French. I have to say that I was pretty disappointed with the Battle of Agincourt – it didn't feel epic at all. Henry's encouraging speeches felt super cheap to me, and even him spying on his own soldiers in disguise wasn't as entertaining as I thought it would be. On the morning of the battle, the sheer numbers of the French army dampen the English moral, but when Henry gives his infamous St. Crispin's Day Speech about honor and brotherhood and English pride, his soldiers are electrified and decide to stay. And so they fight. Shit goes down and the French, having lost the battle, ask to recover their dead. Henry said that God fought for the English that day and forbids anyone to baost about this victory. The play ends with Henry and the King of France discussing the details of the peace, and Henry admitting that Katherine is his greatest desire in the treaty. While the King of France and Henry's officials discuss the agreement, Katherine and Henry banter about love – which was pretty fucking ridiculous by the way. Henry, for example, tells her that he loves France so much he 'will not part with a village of it – I will have it all mine'. Alrighty! The short epilogue was also one of the few brilliant things this play had to offer. In it the Chorus narrates that the peace only lasted for a short time because Henry soon dies, and his child, Henry VI, will lose everything his father has won. [insert Beethoven's 5th here] ;) In conclusion, I can say that there were some funny and clever bits scattered throughout this play, but overall the fighting scenes, and all the overblown speeches bored me to death.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jake

    Thanks to Kenneth Branagh, this Henry history play was the cool Shakespeare movie when I was in high school. Eat your heart out Franco Zeffirelli. Mr. Branagh acted and directed his butt off. There were lots of arrows flying between England and France. The French were portrayed as snobs, a testament to the Bard’s high research standards. The original score was majestic. Did I mention the cool arrows? Honestly, I’m still not sure why England and France were fighting—something about tennis balls b Thanks to Kenneth Branagh, this Henry history play was the cool Shakespeare movie when I was in high school. Eat your heart out Franco Zeffirelli. Mr. Branagh acted and directed his butt off. There were lots of arrows flying between England and France. The French were portrayed as snobs, a testament to the Bard’s high research standards. The original score was majestic. Did I mention the cool arrows? Honestly, I’m still not sure why England and France were fighting—something about tennis balls being very tacky gifts. So I make it a rule never to invite a British person to play tennis if he is holding a longbow. Oh, yeah, and having now also seen a good stage production, I find myself not the least bit bothered that a whole section of the play is done in French. It involves Henry’s bride-to-be chatting it up with a girlfriend, I think. At any rate, the deep symbolism for me in that scene is that whenever I find myself surrounded by chatting women, I can’t follow what they’re saying. But if I pay attention to their mood, things generally turn out okay. Anyhoooo, having read it and seen it on stage and screen, Henry V remains for me a cool, exciting Shakespeare play. I had to dock a star because I made the mistake of attending college and becoming a critical thinker. So now the war sections don’t have the same pizzazz that they did in high school. And I’ve also realized that the love story has no pizzazz. “Hi, lovely French lady. I’m Henry. I killed more of your relatives than your country killed of my relatives. I love your eyes. Let’s consummate.” Yup, pretty sure that’s the final act in a nutshell. Bottom line: Whatever literary gripes may exist about this play, the St. Crispin’s Day speech is rightfully one of the greatest moments in all of dramatic literature. Don’t miss this Shakespearean history play.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Roy Lotz

    Men of few words are the best men. This is a masterful play, likely one of Shakespeare’s most effortlessly enjoyable. Aided by the chorus, the story moves quickly; and there is none of the artificial machinery of Shakespeare’s comedies and tragedies—mistaken identities, secret plots, and the like—but, instead, a story focused on one man’s glorious ascent. This is Henry; and his character is undoubtedly one of the greatest portrayals of a charismatic leader we have. He is the play. Just as he do Men of few words are the best men. This is a masterful play, likely one of Shakespeare’s most effortlessly enjoyable. Aided by the chorus, the story moves quickly; and there is none of the artificial machinery of Shakespeare’s comedies and tragedies—mistaken identities, secret plots, and the like—but, instead, a story focused on one man’s glorious ascent. This is Henry; and his character is undoubtedly one of the greatest portrayals of a charismatic leader we have. He is the play. Just as he dominates everyone on the stage, so he dominates us, the audience. The result is a mesmerizing patriotic spectacle. Even if you have grave reservations about the justice of invading France, and even if you can see through Henry’s rhetoric, it is impossible to resist his call to follow him. But how did Shakespeare himself feel about the hero king? One cannot be sure. Nevertheless, there is enough irony in the play to suggest that the playwright entertained his own doubts. Most telling, for me, was the conversation between the disguised Harry and the soldier Williams. After the soldier expands upon the horrors of war—limbs chopped off, men crying for a surgeon, wives and children left alone—he concludes that the king will be responsible for a great evil if the cause be not just. Harry then responds with a fine bit of extremely specious reasoning: So, if a son that is by his father sent about merchandise do sinfully miscarry upon the sea, the imputation of his wickedness, by your rule, should be imposed upon the father that sent him. Or if a servant, under his master’s command transporting a sum of money, by assailed by robbers and die in many irreconciled iniquities, you may call the business of the master the author of the servant’s damnation. Anyone, I suspect, can see the clear difference between a misfortune befalling a servant and a wound suffered by a soldier sent into battle. And this is just one example of Henry’s refusal to consider the ethical ramifications of his decisions. Later on, when Henry discovers that the baggage train has been attacked, the noble king orders his soldiers to cut the throats of every prisoner. He is, in short, remorseless in the pursuit of what he considers his birthright. The central question that the play asks, then, is whether Henry’s brilliant, charismatic leadership in some measure excuses all of the bloodshed that results from his choices. Now that the idea of monarchy has lost its hold on our imaginations, the argument that any land belongs to a king “by right” sounds barbaric. It thus seems difficult to justify the invasion of France on any reasonable ethical grounds. After all, France is not ruled by a cruel tyrant; and the people of France will likely be no happier under Henry than under Charles VI. Nevertheless, it is difficult not to root for the young king. And this is true of many historic conquerors, from Alexander the Great to Napoleon. They cloak themselves in glory and promise to inaugurate a new world, if only you follow them through the breach. Indeed, Fluellen explicitly compares Henry to Alexander, noting how the latter killed one of his best friends while drunk, just as Henry rejected his friend and mentor Falstaff. (And Mistress Quickly’s narration of Falstaff’s lonely death is one of the more affecting moments of this play.) It seems strange that these military conquerers have commanded so much praise throughout the ages. Plutarch’s Lives is little more than a compendium of so many Henrys. Yet as Voltaire said: Not long since the trite and frivolous question was debated in a very polite and learned company, viz., Who was the greatest man, Caesar, Alexander, Tamerlane, Cromwell, etc.? Somebody answered that Sir Isaac Newton excelled them all. The gentleman’s assertion was very just; … those politicians and conquerors (and all ages produce some) were generally so many illustrious wicked men. That man claims respect who commands over the minds of the rest of the world by force of truth, not those who enslave their fellow-creatures: he who is acquainted with the universe, not they who deface it. All this being said, it must be noted in favor of these conquerors that their less charismatic counterparts are not necessarily better in terms of the common good. In Richard II, the beginning of this tetralogy, Shakespeare gives us a portrait of just such an ineffectual king, a man who has the sensibility of a poet but not the strong will of a commander, and whose poor decisions result in a civil war. Historically, peace at home has often been kept at the cost of war abroad, and vice versa. Conquered land is seldom kept, but the state is strengthened in the meantime; and a country united against an enemy may be preferable to one divided by faction. Clearly, a country at peace at home and abroad is preferable to either alternative. But historically speaking, this option has not often existed. I do not think this excuses the bloodshed of conquests, but perhaps it goes some way in explaining why these warlike men have so often been treated as heroes, when nowadays we are apt to see them as villains. That, and a play about Isaac Newton would likely not be as entertaining.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Elena

    Well, I have my absolute Shakespeare's favourite, and it's Much Ado About Nothing. But! As far as that one is a great comedy, I think Henry V has become my favourite historical play by the Great Bard. This time there was no Falstaff to steal the show (only a few appearances of his companions, Bardolph and Pistol) so we could really see Henry V growing to be the King, the soldier and the politician England needs. I liked the "war speeches", especially around the battle of Azincourt, and the whole co Well, I have my absolute Shakespeare's favourite, and it's Much Ado About Nothing. But! As far as that one is a great comedy, I think Henry V has become my favourite historical play by the Great Bard. This time there was no Falstaff to steal the show (only a few appearances of his companions, Bardolph and Pistol) so we could really see Henry V growing to be the King, the soldier and the politician England needs. I liked the "war speeches", especially around the battle of Azincourt, and the whole concept of "brotherhood" among all of the fighting Englishmen (and Welshmen of course). I also liked the emphasis on the church's role in warmongering and the general costs of fighting - the visible, tangible, financial one and also the one that taints people's souls, their conscience and personalities. Generally, a great read! Now to the First Tetralogy ;)

  20. 4 out of 5

    Zadignose

    A somewhat unexpected development at at the end of a four-play series ("The Henriad"). Shakespeare comes across as remarkably cynical in the first three plays, yet in this one he takes as mostly sincere the moral reformation of Henry V, and the superiority of English/British honor (while peppering the play with a bit of ethnic humor, Shakespeare upholds the honor of the Welsh, whose main defect is merely that they speak a bit funny). To a large extent the play seems most like a "history play" am A somewhat unexpected development at at the end of a four-play series ("The Henriad"). Shakespeare comes across as remarkably cynical in the first three plays, yet in this one he takes as mostly sincere the moral reformation of Henry V, and the superiority of English/British honor (while peppering the play with a bit of ethnic humor, Shakespeare upholds the honor of the Welsh, whose main defect is merely that they speak a bit funny). To a large extent the play seems most like a "history play" among this series of history plays: events from history are enacted on stage and offstage with a "chorus" to keep us updated--and speaking of "chorus," Shakespeare seems to exercise his wit here by employing a "chorus" of one person to illustrate his main function as a reminder that every man on stage is taken to represent dozens or thousands. The play seems didactic and even propagandist in comparison to the other more ambiguous plays. But I was somewhat thankful to have put behind the silliness of Henry IV 1&2. And one rather large ambiguity seems to stand out dramatically to me, as the big riddle of the play which goes uncommented. Why do the English triumph at Agincourt? Here, Shakespeare leaves us to do our own philosophizing, and I believe that's entirely deliberate. He has encouraged us to entertain three theses which are not necessarily exclusive to one another: -They triumph through the will of God. -They triumph through the character of men (Henry's moral reformation and the honorable character of those who emerged from the earlier British civil wars being the deciding factors). -They triumph through an accident of blind, inconstant fortune. The epilogue mentions fortune, which was a theme oft repeated in the play cycle and an obsession to the medieval mind, but God's will and the reward of human virtue are also oft repeated themes so that on a philosophical level Shakespeare seems to have offered us three Henriads without any means to arrive at one True Henriad. P.S., the theses which are entirely left off the table, perhaps even mildly ridiculed through the honorable foolishness of the character of Fluellin, are that the English may have triumphed through strategy or technological superiority (historians might point to the use of the longbows, for instance). To Shakespeare, such prosaic explanations of military victory are not to be taken seriously.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    "For God, Harry, and St George!" Lord, what a play. Shakespeare is often times enjoyable, but I love to refer to this as the ultimate coming of age story. Every young man in the world deserves to see this performed. The play is really, in my opinion, a cluster of insecurities facing young men. From his mockery at the hands of the Dauphin, to his proving his worth in combat, to the pressure put on him as king, the judgments he is forced to make, and maybe even a little romance, you will see Harry "For God, Harry, and St George!" Lord, what a play. Shakespeare is often times enjoyable, but I love to refer to this as the ultimate coming of age story. Every young man in the world deserves to see this performed. The play is really, in my opinion, a cluster of insecurities facing young men. From his mockery at the hands of the Dauphin, to his proving his worth in combat, to the pressure put on him as king, the judgments he is forced to make, and maybe even a little romance, you will see Harry go through the trials of adulthood to prove himself as a noble king. I truly recommend reading the two Henry IV plays beforehand just so you appreciate what Harry is sacrificing in his role as Henry V. He makes leaps and bounds in so short a time, and with his famous St. Crispin's Day speech rises into manhood in one of the most marvelous ways I've ever seen in a drama. Beautifully moving, ingeniously thought provoking, and forever memorable. Easily the greatest play I've ever seen in my entire life.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Zachary F.

                                                   . . . I think the King is but a man as I am. The violet smells to him as it doth to me. The element shows to him as it doth to me. All his senses have but human conditions. His ceremonies laid by, in his nakedness he appears but a man, and though his affections are higher mounted than ours, yet when they stoop, they stoop with the like wing. -act 4, scene 1 Henry V is a cynical war story about an illegitimate monarch who invades a sovereign country on blatan                                                . . . I think the King is but a man as I am. The violet smells to him as it doth to me. The element shows to him as it doth to me. All his senses have but human conditions. His ceremonies laid by, in his nakedness he appears but a man, and though his affections are higher mounted than ours, yet when they stoop, they stoop with the like wing. -act 4, scene 1 Henry V is a cynical war story about an illegitimate monarch who invades a sovereign country on blatantly false pretenses, threatens the enemy with rape and child murder if they don’t surrender, orders the killing of his prisoners of war, deceives and endangers his own men for sport, and—when the bloodshed is finally done—adds insult to injury by making the defeated king's daughter marry him. Wait, no, surely that's not right. Let's try again: Henry V is a rousing adventure tale about a kind and noble king determined to atone for his father's wrongs with feats of bravery on the battlefield. He treats his men like family, forgiving them even when they insult him to his face, and he commands them to handle the enemy with equal dignity. He's slow to anger, and goes to war only in the belief that ultimately his actions will bring together two rival nations in peaceful unity. And he's a romantic, too! Or, um, maybe it's both? Or neither? As I'm sure you've guessed, the point of this exercise is to show that your reading of this play will depend almost entirely on your own predilections and biases. That's true of all books, of course, but most authors can't help holding your hand at least a little—you're still supposed to think Jane Eyre is a pretty cool lady in the end, whatever reservations you may have about her. If nothing else, you can usually tell who the author is rooting for. But Henry V doesn't make it so easy. Shakespeare's got plenty of unequivocally good or bad characters in his repertoire, but the best of his plays are the ones which hold a mirror up to the reader/viewer/performer instead. (On balance I don't think Henry V actually is one of his best, but it does illustrate this principle perfectly.) If you like a stirring tale of wartime heroics—"we happy few, we band of brothers"—that's what Henry V will give you. If, like me, you're predisposed against kings and imperial endeavors no matter their optics, you'll get plenty of affirmation here as well. Henry is an undeniably magnetic character, and his deeds are presented as at least ostensibly good and just (as they'd pretty much have to be in Shakespeare's day), but there's too much of an emphasis on the king's hypocrisies and shady dealings for me to believe that Will didn't know exactly what he was implying. And anyway, if you've read enough Shakespeare you know that even in the best of cases his feelings about rulers and their legacies were. . . complicated. For all its nuance, though, Henry V also sees Will indulging many of his most annoying mid-career vices. Even setting aside the fact that the histories are rarely his most compelling work—sorry, it's just the truth—this one manages somehow both to take on too much (the First Folio title of the play was The Life of Henry the Fifth, if that gives you any idea of the intended scope) and to waste page after page on dull comic relief and peripheral dramas. Henry himself is absent from the stage for scenes at a time, while the inclusion of Falstaff's sidekicks Bardolph, Pistol, and Nym feels pointless in the absence of Falstaff himself. (He dies offstage in one of the early scenes, purportedly because the actor who played him quit the company after a dispute.) The nationalistic stereotypes I noted in Merry Wives of Windsor are even more prevalent here, and the whole play is narrated by a Greek chorus whose main purpose, rather hilariously, is to apologize for the poor quality of the production. (Another bit of trivia: this is the only Shakespeare play to include an entire scene in a language other than English—and in typical Shakespearean fashion, the whole thing is basically a setup for a dirty pun en français.) So I don't know. All in all, I think I'd actually like Henry V pretty well if it was just the scenes with Henry V. As is, I found it interesting to ponder but kind of a chore to read (which, come to think of it, is a sentiment I keep returning to with the histories). I imagine most productions probably do tighten up the script quite a bit, and judging by the predominately positive reviews here and the number of prestigious film adaptations the play's been treated to over the years my opinion is probably the minority one. I've just started The Hollow Crown, the BBC's recent take on the Henriad, so maybe Tom Hiddleston's performance in the title role will win me over. For now though, I'm just glad to finally be done with the history plays (except for Henry VIII, which comes way later and barely counts) and on to Shakespeare's tragic period. It's been an illuminating and at times rewarding journey, to be sure, but my God will it be nice not to have to read about another Henry or Richard for a good long while.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Raquel Baggins

    Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more I'm really bad at committing with required readings and I struggled a lot (ONE MONTH!!!!!) reading this history play so it ended up being just an okay reading for me . To be honest, I'd never have read it if it hadn't been a compulsory read for Medieval and Renaissance English Literature so I forced myself to finish it. I hope I'll find other Shakespeare's plays more interesting than this one. However, I liked this annotated version and the sce Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more I'm really bad at committing with required readings and I struggled a lot (ONE MONTH!!!!!) reading this history play so it ended up being just an okay reading for me . To be honest, I'd never have read it if it hadn't been a compulsory read for Medieval and Renaissance English Literature so I forced myself to finish it. I hope I'll find other Shakespeare's plays more interesting than this one. However, I liked this annotated version and the scene to scene in-depth analysis at the end.

  24. 4 out of 5

    B. P. Rinehart

    We are often told war is hell, in this play Shakespeare shows us it is cruel too. While you would do good to have some background info on the actual people being portrayed blah, blah, blah, you also would do good with a little guide of Shakespeare's last historical plays Henry IV, Part 1 & Henry IV, Part 2. But even without it you would never the less see how torturous a campaign as Henry V's into France was. This is one of the Bard's better war plays mainly because he is doing it for his pa We are often told war is hell, in this play Shakespeare shows us it is cruel too. While you would do good to have some background info on the actual people being portrayed blah, blah, blah, you also would do good with a little guide of Shakespeare's last historical plays Henry IV, Part 1 & Henry IV, Part 2. But even without it you would never the less see how torturous a campaign as Henry V's into France was. This is one of the Bard's better war plays mainly because he is doing it for his patrons the court of Elizabeth I and because it was not as far past as it was now. It would be something akin to the American Civil War in distance and as Henry V of Lancaster was thought to be a direct (dynasty-wise) ancestor of the Tudors this put a real source of patriotic pride in the play. Henry, who was unruly in his youth, was found to be a very determined, steely, and pragmatic commander-in-chief and he ruthlessly enforced discipline in his small, disorganized, but fanatically determined army. The French had the advantage of a better organized and armed military, home-field advantage, and well earned degree of confidence. What they did not have was Henry V and they would pay dearly for that. Like many a Shakespeare play if you do not pay attention closely you miss the subtle contemplations and debates on the ethics of such things as war, will, even if Henry truly has the right and divine grace to challenge for the French crown "But if the cause be not good, the King himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopp'd off in a battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all, "We died at such a place"; some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of anything, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the King that led them to it; who to disobey were against all proportion of subjection." (And this is his own army asking these questions and making these statements. I never cease to admire a Shakespeare play for that.) The Battle of Agincourt is the centerpiece of the play. After a soul-rousing speech reminding everyone that the day itself is a feast day (a day of commemoration of a particular saint i.e. St. Valentine, St. Patrick and is usually the day that person died) of saints Crispin and Crispinian and bringing home the point that if they die it will be for country, but he would not ask for even one more man to fight with him and if they DO survive generations will read (and watch) of their heroics on the day not to mention bragging rights and showing up those who were not there (truly awesome speech). He has the whole of the English Army ready for battle. The battle is a hellish and nasty one as per the rules of a 15th century battle and every violation of a rule of war and human rights is very meticulously broken, "Kill the poys [young boys who accompanied armies in those times] and the luggage! 'Tis expressly against the law of arms. 'Tis as arrant a piece of knavery, mark you now, as can be offer't; in your conscience, now, is it not?" They win miraculously, in part because of the over-powering use of long bows (something they can thank William Wallace for) and a peace treaty that gives the French king's daughter to Henry and makes his heir King of France (spoiler alert it doesn't happen that way thanks to his death, his son's folly, the War of The Roses, and a woman named Joan of Arc). In hindsight this could be viewed as a tragedy because despite all this hard work, despite all the effort, in-the-end England will never conquer all of France, and the Norman conquest will always dwell in the collective unconscious of the English as the one time (okay second if you include the Romans...) a country subjugated Britain and they never avenged (and no, sports and singing contests do not count nor does D-Day). So, I couldn't help but feel a little bit of pity, as I'm sure the contemporary audience did, for the after knowledge that all of these gains will be wasted by the War Of The Roses, which Shakespeare covered in Henry VI, Part 1. For reference the visual adaption I saw was Kenneth Branagh's 1989 version so yeah...the battle scene was quite brutal. This movie adaption is a pretty close second for most bloodiest and grittiest adaption of a Shakespeare play in my opinion (with Akira Kurosawa's Ran coming at number one).

  25. 4 out of 5

    Melanti

    My first of Shakespeare's histories, and a comparatively straightforward one to read compared to some of his others - in part because the plot is so straightforward. Rather than a complicated plot, the majority of the time is taken up bragging about how great England is, how silly and overconfident the French were. The rest of the time is spent with King Henry giving some really great and inspiring pre-battle speeches. There's a couple odd things about the play that make me wonder if it was origin My first of Shakespeare's histories, and a comparatively straightforward one to read compared to some of his others - in part because the plot is so straightforward. Rather than a complicated plot, the majority of the time is taken up bragging about how great England is, how silly and overconfident the French were. The rest of the time is spent with King Henry giving some really great and inspiring pre-battle speeches. There's a couple odd things about the play that make me wonder if it was originally commissioned by or performed specially for a more noble audience than the general public. About half the time, the chorus is only there to talk about how great England is and I'm sure that Jingoistic aspect would play well to a noble crowd. And there's a huge amount of French (including a whole scene of nothing but French) with jokes that are funniest if you do speak French - which, I assume, would have been more common in well-to-do households.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. (view spoiler)[Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)]

  27. 4 out of 5

    Marquise

    Well . . . talk about not delivering what was promised! I'd have preferred it if Shakespeare had continued his comic side story with Falstaff, a character the audience already knew well and surely many liked for what he was meant to be, instead of the one he chose, Pistol, who's less known and not even a fraction as entertaining. In fact, he even feels a bit out of place in this play aimed at glorifying war so unapologetically, for being an incompetent fool instead of a funny incompetent fool. The Well . . . talk about not delivering what was promised! I'd have preferred it if Shakespeare had continued his comic side story with Falstaff, a character the audience already knew well and surely many liked for what he was meant to be, instead of the one he chose, Pistol, who's less known and not even a fraction as entertaining. In fact, he even feels a bit out of place in this play aimed at glorifying war so unapologetically, for being an incompetent fool instead of a funny incompetent fool. The plot was moderately good, mostly centred on the famous Battle of Agincourt, and to my taste it relies too much on exalting Henry V as the prototype of the chivalrous king who makes war with right on his side, and the French are . . . the French. I would call the storytelling little more than a lyrical exercise in vanity for the greater glory of Albion; and at times it's amusing to see how lionised the king is, and the inclusion of an odd romantic tone to the political necessity that was his marriage to the Valois princess. Aside the beautiful speeches, including the one with the oft-quoted "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers" line, there's not much to recommend this play, in my opinion. The Henriad series is uneven, some of the plays stand out in quality and beauty of stagecraft, but overall there are more misses than triumphs.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jan-Maat

    Cry havoc and let slip the Dogs of War. Considering the context this is a remarkably open work, no simple glorification of war or of a forerunner of the reigning monarch at a time when the ongoing wars in Ireland and the low countries must have meant that many in the audience had personal experience of war.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Puck

    Knock knock! Who’s there? Balls! Balls who? Canonballs, because you dared to mock England! Get ready for a war Dauphin, because of your shallow wit, thousands weep more than did laugh at it. Ah Henry V, more an epic war poem than a play, but what a badass play it is. Famous for its St. Crispin’s Day Speech and the “Once more, unto the breach!” motivation, but I love how Shakespeare casually reminds us how vulnerable King Hal is. He gets betrayed by dear friends, has to keep up morale in a miserab Knock knock! Who’s there? Balls! Balls who? Canonballs, because you dared to mock England! Get ready for a war Dauphin, because of your shallow wit, thousands weep more than did laugh at it. Ah Henry V, more an epic war poem than a play, but what a badass play it is. Famous for its St. Crispin’s Day Speech and the “Once more, unto the breach!” motivation, but I love how Shakespeare casually reminds us how vulnerable King Hal is. He gets betrayed by dear friends, has to keep up morale in a miserable army, and still struggles with his crown. "Not today, O Lord, O not today, think upon the fault My father made in compassing the crown!” This play on its own is good, but lines like these get so much more weight when you’ve read Henry IV (Part I and Part II) and Richard II beforehand! Not only gives it more depth to the character of King Hal, but also the scenes with the Eastcheap crew become much richer. Pistol, Bardolph and Nym get fouler, the Boy more fascinating, and Fallstaff…oh Fallstaff :( "The King hath run bad humors on the knight, that's the even of it." The new characters that we meet in this play add their own spice to the play. Katherine’s role is small, but her fun English-lesson shows her maturity and insight into the situation. The debate of ”What ish my nation?” between Captains MacMorris, Jamy, Fluellen, and Gowers isn’t just a heated skirmish: it is about loyalty, about identity, about belonging. So there is plenty more to this play than an exciting war story, yet the emotional impact wasn’t so strong that I want to give this play 4 stars. Yet an good ending to the second tetralogy. 3,75 stars

  30. 4 out of 5

    Veronica

    "O, for a muse of fire that would ascend The brightest heaven of invention!" Henry V, Prologue "Now entertain conjecture of a time When creeping murmur and the poring dark Fills the wide vessel of the universe. ... Fire answers fire, and through their paly flames Each battle sees the other's umbered face." Henry V, Act 4, Scene I

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