5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 31 March 2009
I have seen so many film versions of this, with so many different angles I thought it was about time I took a look at the original text. Henry V isn't an enjoyable play to read but it is rewarding. There is humour, tragedy and love (of a sort). But what I discovered when reading the text is that there are so many versions of the one mad. Henry is King, lover, soldier, orator but is he a good man? On the eve of battle Henry goes amongst his men, talks to them as an equal, and exudes greatness. But he is dressed in disguise and travels at night all clear Shakespearean symbols of deceit and untrustworthiness. And the speech he delivers at Harfleur is guaranteed to make your blood run cold.
The play picks up with Henry as king and holds him up as a man. The youthful indiscretions of Prince Hal are no more (don't worry it is possible to read Henry V without reading the other Henry plays). He has cut his ties with those characters of his youth, and indeed Falstaff is only ever mentioned off stage. We see him justify a battle, win a war and win hearts as well as wreak death and destruction. But one thing I am sure of, Henry V is a great play if not a great man. I would thoroughly recommend `A little touch of Harry in the night.' (Henry V, 4. 1)
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 29 June 1999
Required to read Henry for my AP English Language class, I came into the play with a bias. I honestly felt that it would be a boring political play. I was utterly wrong! A huge fan of Shakespeare, I found Henry V to be a formidable match for the Bard's more critically acclaimed plays, such as Hamlet and Macbeth. Henry has it all! Shakespeare's attitude toward Henry the King is certainly one of admiration. By communicating the fact that an effective monarch must have a complete understanding of the common subjects (Pistol and Bardolph and Quickly), Shakespeare sets up Henry to be the ideal Christian king. The controlled language of Henry's speeches, particularly his response to the Dauphin's idiotic insult, also glorifies Henry. I certainly recommend this play to anyone, fan of Shakespeare or not.
7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 25 September 1998
How does one review Shakespeare? Well, I shall try... A history buff (more specifically, a medieval history buff) I am probably the only person who enjoys Shakespeare's history plays above all others (except "Macbeth"--always excepting "Macbeth"). After that intriguing (and sly!) introduction, the action of the play dies down for a bit, until Harry arrives in France and takes it by storm. THEN the play unfurls itself into what turns out to be Shakespeare's greatest tribute to England and literature and history's greatest tribute to "that star of England," Henry V, surely one of England's greatest monarchs. The star of three plays, Harry also stands out as one of Shakespeare's most interesting and fully-realized characters. If you are familiar with the Henry IV plays, it is fascinating to discover how Harry's past adventures (and misadventures) have contributed to make him the man he proves himself to be in "Henry V." This is truly one of Shakespeare's best plays, and Harry's "Saint Crispin's Day Speech" is one of the most inspirational and well-crafted speeches in literature, I think. (Hamlet's speeches were always so convoluted!)
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 17 March 2013
A beautiful edition. It feels as though it is brand new. It clearly has never been read. This is the penultimate edition in my collection of Folio Society Shakespeare and what a wonderful collection they make. Since I was at school I have wanted this collection and now,. thanks to Amazon, I have been able to gather the books. Many thanks.