Shakespeare hedges the patriotic fantasy of English greatness in Henry V with hesitations and qualifications about the validity of the myth of glorious nationhood offered by the Agincourt story. The king’s speech to his troops before battle on St. Crispin’s Day is particularly famous for its evocation of a brotherhood in arms, but Shakespeare has placed it in a context full of ironies and challenging contrasts.
Act 1 opens on the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Ely hoping to distract Henry V from passing a bill that would seize Church properties by giving Henry the Church’s approval and funds to raise an army to claim France for England. Canterbury convinces Henry that war is justified because Salic law (a law that inheritance can only pass through male heirs) does not apply in France and Henry thus has an inherited right to French territory.
Plot Summary. Henry, now seen to be a wise and serious king, is assured by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Ely that he has a right to the French throne. His decision to take the French crown is reinforced when ambassadors from the Dauphin bring him a contemptuous present, in the form of tennis balls.
A quick overview of what happens in the plot of Henry V. 1. The English church supports the claim King Henry V has on the French throne and Henry decides to go to war with France after they send him a mocking gift. 2.
Summary. The Chorus (one person) enters and calls upon the "Muse" to help in presenting this play since it deals with such a lofty subject matter. The Chorus explains that the small Elizabethan stage can hardly transform itself into the fields of France, or into an English court, or into a battlefield upon which thousands of horses and soldiers fight; with imagination, however, when "we talk of horses . . . you [can] see them" moving across the landscape.
While Henry V is not Shakespeare's best play, all of the three preceding history plays — Richard II and Henry IV, Parts I and II — lead up to Henry V and its depiction of Henry as the idealized Christian king. Whereas the earlier plays had shown Henry as the "madcap Prince Hal," a chap who was constantly in the company of lower-class types and who was constantly in some trouble of one sort or another, yet this earlier life ultimately becomes a preparation for his kingship, and his ...
Henry V is the last of the eight great history plays dealing with medieval English history. The first four plays dealt with the Wars of the Roses from 1422 to 1485. The next set of four plays were set prior to this period, and covered the years 1398 to 1420.
Summary. This scene, consisting solely of a soliloquy by King Henry, contains many famous passages; in fact, this speech is probably the best known speech in the entire play. The scene is Harfleur, where Henry, surrounded by his troops, urges them on to one more supreme effort. Henry's speech proves that he knows his men well; speaking plainly and to the point, he appeals to their manhood, their ancestry, and their love of England:
Summary: Act IV, scene v. The French camp is in disarray, and the French soldiers’ cries reveal that, against all expectations, the English have won the day. The French troops have been routed and scattered. Astonished and dismayed, the French nobles bewail their great shame and contemplate suicide.
Summary. Now in Southampton, Bedford (the king's brother), Exeter (the king's uncle), and Westmoreland are discussing the conspirators — Scroop, Cambridge, and Grey — who, for a price, are planning to kill the king. The king, however, is aware of the plot and those behind it. Henry, Scroop, Cambridge, and Grey enter and begin to discuss the support and loyalty which the king has among his subjects.