Henry V (Folger Shakespeare Library)
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Henry V is Shakespeare’s most famous “war play”; it includes the storied English victory over the French at Agincourt. Some of it glorifies war, especially the choruses and Henry’s speeches urging his troops into battle. But we also hear bishops conniving for war to postpone a bill that would tax the church, and soldiers expecting to reap profits from the conflict. Even in the speeches of Henry and his nobles, there are many chilling references to the human cost of war.
The authoritative edition of Henry V from The Folger Shakespeare Library, the trusted and widely used Shakespeare series for students and general readers, includes:
-Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play
-Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play
-Scene-by-scene plot summaries
-A key to the play’s famous lines and phrases
-An introduction to reading Shakespeare’s language
-An essay by a leading Shakespeare scholar providing a modern perspective on the play
-Fresh images from the Folger Shakespeare Library’s vast holdings of rare books
-An annotated guide to further reading
Essay by Michael Neill
The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, is home to the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare’s printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs. For more information, visit Folger.edu.
antiwar interpretation by mixing historical periods in the setting for the action and bringing on a crowd of English civilians dressed as in World War II. Like other directors, he emphasized the cost of war for the king who led it. His opening and closing image, with Henry’s red regal gown with a gold collar placed on a dummy, roped off like an exhibit in the Imperial War Museum, established a sense of royal myth surrounded by tall red poppies, the strongest modern symbol of the cost of war....
English hence? Hear‘st thou of them? (5.3.47-56) Blank verse, then, can be much more than unrhymed iambic pentameter, and even within a single play Shakespeare’s blank verse often consists of several styles, depending on the speaker and on the speaker’s emotion at the moment. The Play Text as a Collaboration Shakespeare’s fellow dramatist Ben Jonson reported that the actors said of Shakespeare, “In his writing, whatsoever he penned, he never blotted out line,” i.e., never crossed out
this play has received its intended “acceptance,” it will not be destructive or irrelevant to remind the audience that the final, peaceful grouping was neither fully honest nor fully permanent. Henry the Fifth is a hero-centered historical pageant that presents a clear narrative and varied characters. In that, it differs from Shakespeare’s earlier histories, with their concern with political necessity or “commodity,” with rebellion, power and conscience, and with God’s providence. But it was not
earthquake, like a Jove; That if requiring° fail, he will compel; And bids you, in the bowels of the Lord,° Deliver up the crown, and to take mercy On the poor souls for whom this hungry war Opens his vasty jaws; and on your head Turning the widows’ tears, the orphans’ cries, The dead men’s blood, the pining maidens’ groans, For husbands, fathers, and betrothed lovers That shall be swallowed in this controversy. This is his claim, his threat‘ning, and my message; Unless the Dauphin be
full accord to all our just demands; Whose tenors and particular effects You have, enscheduled briefly, in your hands. Burgundy. The King hath heard them; to the which as yetThere is no answer made. King Henry. Well then, the peace, Which you before so urged, lies in his answer. France. I have but with a cursitory° eye51 Conceives by idleness (cf. proverb, “Idleness is the mother of vice”) 51 teems is brought forth 52 kecksies umbelliferous plants (e.g., cow parsley) 61 diffused