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Henry V : (Wordsworth Classics) Paperback – 5 Jun 2000
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"Cry, 'God for Harry! England and Saint George!'" Henry's V's rallying cry to his soldiers before Harfleur has become an iconic rallying cry for English nationalism. More than any other Shakespeare play, Henry V has been seen to define what it means to be English in its account of Henry's triumphant victory over vastly superior French forces in 1415. The play has been endlessly quoted by politicians as an incitement to patriotism, and Laurence Olivier's ground-breaking film of the play was dedicated to the Allied soldiers who landed in France on D-Day in 1944.
More recently critics have questioned the extent to which the play is simply a piece of nationalist propaganda, pointing to the more ambivalent reflections on the cost of war voiced by various characters throughout the play. As one of Henry's soldiers reflects on the eve of the Battle of Agincourt, "if the cause be not good, the King himself hath a heavy reckoning to make". Henry himself has already been defined as a cunning and rather unsympathetic character in Henry IV Parts One and Two, and his cynical manipulation of patriotism in his pursuit of military glory is incisively undercut by the Irishman Macmorris' poignant question as to "What ish my nation?" This more ambivalent dimension of the play is most effectively captured in Kenneth Branagh's post-Falklands film, Henry V, which portrays a king much more aware of the dreadful consequences of going to war. Branagh's film suggests that Henry V ultimately questions, rather than endorses the glory of going into battle for one's country. --Jerry Brotton
About the Author
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) needs little introduction. As we approach the four-hundredth anniversary of his death, his reputation as one of the greatest writers in the English language is undeniable - except by those who attribute his works to other writers.
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Top Customer Reviews
Taking place during the Hundred Years War, the Henry 'Prince Hal' in Henry IV has now grown up and become the king. This play centres on the events up to Agincourt and the immediate aftermath. Some of the speeches in this will make your hairs stand on end, instil patriotism in the heart and make you proud of being from this nation.
Perhaps not as popular at the present time this is still something that you can really get your teeth in to. There is of course comic relief here, especially with a stereotypical Welshman. This is somthing that you should really read, and I can promise you that you will enjoy it. One can only imagine how this was originally performed on such a small stage and it is a tribute to the language of Shakespeare that this is still performed.
This, like all Wordsworth Classic, is value for money - though for 3.99 you can get on Amazon, Henry V on Oxford World Classic which is for all accounts; binding, notes, ancilllary information, etc, far superior.
Still 5 star for me - as if you love Shakespeare this edition is still done well and has all the essentials - if you study at Uni level then I'd advise a better (dearer) edition like Oxford, Cambridge, RSC or Arden.
This play celebrates one of history’s most amazing military upsets. This was the English victory over the French at Agincourt during the Hundred Years’ War. We get a some small amounts of comic relief as the action progresses but there are no major sub-plots.
Saying that there is a reasonable amount of ambiguity in the play. This has led to diverse interpretations in performance. Laurence Olivier's 1944 film, made during the Second World War, emphasises the patriotic side. It ignores the fact that the enemy of the play, the French, were in fact allies in that conflict. Kenneth Branagh's 1989 film stresses the horrors of war. A 2003 Royal National Theatre production featured Henry as a modern war general, ridiculing the Iraq invasion.
The play is the final part of a teratology, preceded by Richard II, Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry IV, Part 2. The original audiences would thus have already been familiar with the title character. Henry was depicted in the Henry IV plays as a wild, undisciplined lad known as "Prince Harry" and by Falstaff as "Hal". In Henry V, the young prince has become a mature man and embarks on a successful conquest of France.
In analysing it, I found it easier to divide it into four parts:
1. the events leading up to the war between the English and French forces,
2. preparations for battle,
3. the actual battles, and
4. the aftermath of the war.Read more ›
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, etc, 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..."
Later in the play, the King "claims kin" with F'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.
Well, all this is available in Fran Teague, Acting Funny in Shakespeare, which I heartily recommend with self-interest.
Olivier's film gets the comedy right; Branagh's does not.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Overrated Author. Anglo focused, anti French. Grammar could be improved. Otherwise well printed delivered on time and a good read for those who hate the french.Published 2 months ago by Gary Meredith hawkes
thank you as discribed and is in excellent condition. the speed of delivery was also good well donePublished 9 months ago by Betty
Don't normally write reviews, butabsolutely amazing service. 5* value for money, speed of delivery and quality of condition. Cannot fault at all- brilliant.Published 14 months ago by lizzie glover
Almost read the text clean off the page. Useful notes in the front.Published 15 months ago by Mudbeast
This is a great play. Unfortunately the quality of the sound is too poor, which makes it very difficult to follow.Published 15 months ago by Teit Schoenberg
Biographical play by Shakespeare, dramatising the highlights of the liife of a medieval monarch. Full of punch and wit.Published 17 months ago by ROBIN EDWARDS
Shakespeare is, of course, peerless!
This is a first-class edition - good, readable font; well-annotated; well-presented; and very beautiful cover-picture! Read more