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Henry V
作者Author  /  William  Shakespeare  威廉.莎士比亞

Henry V

Source of image with Analysis; from Shakespeare Illustrated
W. F. Yeames. The Wooing of Henry V.




Henry V is a study of kingship, patriotism and heroic determination, tempered by tender comedy as Henry courts Katherine, Princess of France”

Quote from  http://www.arkangelshakespeare.com/henryV-1.html

Henry V is considered Shakespeare's most famous war play, and the most interesting biographical account of the English monarchy. The story revolves around the life of  King Henry V (Hal), the young rebel prince from the Henry IV plays, who has become the King of England and gains heroic recognition for his defeat of the French at Agincourt.  While the Henry IV plays deal with the grooming of Prince Hal, Henry V displays the results of his upbringing. King Henry is a cunning and shrewd military leader whose ruthless pursuit to overtake France is no less victorious than his desire to seduce the French Princess Katherine for his bride. The spirit of King Henry and his tireless ambition are proven in such famous speeches as his Saint Crispin's Day address to the troupes before going to battle. The play explores King Henry's struggles to overcome his past and the sins of his predecessors.

Quote from http://www.shakespeareinthepark.vt1.com/history/1998/henryv.htm


ACT 1   
Scene 1.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Ely are anxious about a bill proposing to confiscate ecclesiastical property. They are, however, optimistic that King Henry will oppose it. They note that since the death of his father   young Henry is a reformed character, no longer a rakish debauchee, but a gracious king. Canterbury has promised Henry a contribution from the clergy if he pursues the French crown, to which he has a claim through his great-grandmother, Isabella of France.

Scene 2.

Wishing to establish the justice of his claim Henry asks the Archbishop to expound the Salic Law which prohibits succession to the French throne through the female line. The Archbishop assures Henry that he can press his claim "with right and conscience". Ambassadors from the Dauphin are admitted. They present Henry with a gift of tennis balls; angered, he warns them: "I am coming on/To venge me as I may".

Scene 1.

Nym, Bardolph, Pistol and Mistress Quickly meet on the street. Nym and Pistol were rivals for Quickly's hand; Pistol having won the contest, Bardolph reconciles them.

Scene 2.

Henry meets the Earl of Cambridge, Lord Scroop and Sir Thomas Grey who have conspired with the French against his life. Not knowing that their treason has been discovered, they urge harsh measures against a man convicted of speaking against the King. When Henry orders their arrest, however, they beg for forgiveness. They are sentenced to death.

Scene 3.

Pistol, Nym, Bardolph and Mistress Quickly mourn the death of Falstaff. Quickly is sure that the Knight made a Christian end; the others are less convinced. They bid her farewell and set off for France.

Scene 4.

In the French Palace the Dauphin describes Henry as "a vain, shallow, humorous youth", but the Constable warns against underestimating him. Exeter arrives and demands that Charles the French King give up his throne to Henry.

Scene 1.

Having rejected the French King's offer of his daughter Katherine and some minor dukedoms, Henry lays siege to Harfleur. He urges his troops "once more unto the breach, dear friends!".

Scene 2.

Bardolph, Nym, Pistol and their Boy are reluctant to join the battle, but Fluellen drives them on. Fluellen tries, unsuccessfully, to engage the truculent Macmorris in discussion about the disciplines of war.

Scene 3.

 Harfleur surrenders to the English when the Dauphin fails to send help to the town.

Scene 4.

 Princess Katherine is given an English lesson by her attendant Alice.

Scene 5.

 The English are marching towards Calais and Charles urges his men to prepare for battle.

Scene 6.

Pistol tells the Welsh Captain Fluellen how Bardolph is  to be hanged for looting. When Fluellen refuses to intercede for him with the Duke of Exeter, Pistol is furious. Fluellen describes to Henry how Exeter has succeeded in defending the bridge. Montjoy, the French Herald, enters with the demand that Henry consider being ransomed. Henry is adamant that though his forces are weakened, he will lead them into battle.

Scene 7.

At Agincourt, the Dauphin, Orleans and the Constable wait impatiently for dawn.

Scene 1.

Henry disguises himself as a common soldier and walks through the camp. He meets Williams who believes the King will have to bear the sins of those killed in battle if the cause is not a just one. Henry disagrees and he and Williams exchange gloves; these they will wear in their hats so as to be able to recognize one another and  continue the argument at a later time. Left alone, Henry ponders the burden of kingship. He begs God for protection in battle and expresses shame at the way his father took the crown from Richard II.

Scene 2.

The French are jubilantly confident as they prepare to enter battle.

Scene 3.

The English are anxious about the impending battle:"`Tis a fearful odds." It is St Crispin's day and Henry rouses the spirits of his troops by imagining the pride of the survivors when they look back on their victory. Montjoy arrives, urging the English to surrender, but Henry is determined: they will fight.

Scene 4.

 Pistol captures a French soldier but agrees to spare his life for a ransom.

Scene 5.

 The French are distraught as they realize that their ranks are broken.

Scene 6.

 Exeter recounts to Henry the heroic deaths of York and Suffolk.

Scene 7.

Fluellen and Gower discuss Henry's bravery and his Welsh origins. Montjoy asks permission for the French to retrieve and bury their dead. He concedes that the English have won the day. Having come across Williams who still has the King's glove, Henry gives Williams' glove to Fluellen, telling him that whoever challenges it is his enemy. Williams accosts Fluellen and strikes him. The King pardons Williams. A Herald arrives with news that there are many French dead; the English, however, have lost few men.

Scene 1.

After his victory Henry offers a peace treaty to the French. Fluellen strikes Pistol for deriding Wales. Pistol has learned that his wife is dead; he will return to England.

Scene 2.

In the presence of both kings, the Duke of Burgundy speaks of the blessings of peace. Henry woos the French King's daughter. Charles agrees to the English terms for peace and gives Katherine to Henry, making him heir to
the French throne.

From http://www.arkangelshakespeare.com/henryV-1.html


Biography of Henry V


1387~1422, king of England (1413-2), son and successor of  Henry IV. Henry was probably brought up under the care of his uncle,  Henry Beaufort. He was knighted by Richard II in 1399 and created prince of Wales when his father usurped the throne in the same year. With his father, with Sir Henry Percy, and later by himself, he led armies against Owen Glendower in Wales and  there gained valuable military and administrative experience. Although wounded, he figured largely in the royal victory over  the Percys at Shrewsbury (1403).

Early Life

 Henry was probably brought up under the care of his uncle, Henry Beaufort. He was knighted by Richard II in 1399 and created prince of Wales when his father usurped the throne in the same year. With his father, with Sir Henry Percy, and later by himself, he led armies against Owen Glendower in Wales and there gained valuable military and administrative experience. Although wounded, he figured largely in the royal victory over the Percys at Shrewsbury (1403).

Henry began (c.1409) to work actively in the privy council, which he and his friends dominated in 1410–11. In favoring the  Burgundians rather than the Armagnacs in France (see Armagnacs and Burgundians), he disagreed with the king, and a suggestion by his followers that he should succeed immediatelyn to his father's throne led to his dismissal from the council (1411). He became king, however, upon his father's death in 1413.


Upon his accession to the throne, Henry dismissed the incumbent ministers and made Henry Beaufort lord chancellor. A rebellion by the Lollards, led by Sir John Oldcastle, resulted in a strong parliamentary statute (1414) against the sect, but trouble continued intermittently until the execution of Oldcastle in 1417. Determined to regain the lands in France held by his ancestors,  Henry arranged a secret pact with Burgundy and prepared to attack France, thus reopening the Hundred Years War. Launching his first invasion in 1415, he laid successful siege to Harfleur and marched toward Calais, having announced his claim to the throne of France. He met and defeated a superior French force in one of the most famous battles of English history at Agincourt (1415).

The enthusiastic acclaim that Henry received for this victory for the time overshadowed English political and economic unrest. Henry formed (1416) an alliance with Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund and extended his agreement with the Burgundians. In 1417 he led another expedition to France. In 1419, Rouen capitulated, and Normandy was in English hands. In 1420, Henry concluded the Treaty of Troyes, by which he agreed to  marry Catherine of Valois and to rule France in the name of her father, Charles VI, who accepted Henry as his successor.

The English king continued his conquests to consolidate his holdings and late in 1420 entered Paris. The following year he returned with his wife to England, there made further military preparations despite considerable popular opposition to the continuation of war, and embarked on his third invasion of France. After a year of minor victories, he fell ill and died in Sept., 1422.

Character and Legacy

Henry abandoned his early recklessness (celebrated and probably exaggerated by Shakespeare) and ruled with justice and industry. He lifted England from the near anarchy of his  father's reign to civil order and a high spirit of nationalism. His main interest, however, was in gaining control of lands in  France lands that he sincerely believed to be his right. He exhibited military genius, characterized by brilliant daring, patient strategy and diplomacy, and attentiveness to detail. His strong  personality, his military successes, and his care for his less fortunate subjects made him a great popular hero. The wars, however, placed the crown further in debt and left the nation with economic and military problems that could not be met in the reign of his son, Henry VI.


See biography by H. F. Hutchison (1967); E. F. Jacob, Henry V and the Invasion of France (1947, repr. 1963); K. H. Vickers,  England in the Later Middle Ages (7th ed. 1950); V. H. Green,  The Later Plantagenets (1955); M. W. Labarge, Henry V: The Cautious Conquerer (1976); G. L. Harriss, ed., Henry V: The  Practice of Kingship (1985).

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