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22gigantes.com - Henry V is a history play by William Shakespeare, believed to be written in 1599. It is based on the life of King Henry V of England, and focuses on events immediately before and after the Battle of Agincourt during the Hundred Years' War.The play is the final part of a tetralogy, 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, who was depicted in the Henry IV plays as a wild, undisciplined lad known as "Prince Hal." In Henry V, the young prince has become a mature man and embarks on an attempted conquest of France.
Most helpful customer reviews 4 of 4 people found the following review helpful. Agincourt, Waterloo, or Stalingrad… By John P. Jones III Bernard Fall concludes his classic account of the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, entitled Hell In A Very Small Place: The Siege Of Dien Bien Phu, which I have now read twice, with the following: “…the 10,000 men who died here and who may have done more to shape the fate of the world than the soldiers at Agincourt, Waterloo, or Stalingrad.” Surely not, even when I read it the first time, in an equally remote valley with strong resemblances to the prosaically named “seat of the border county prefecture.” The latter two battles truly were shatteringly significant, particularly compared to a battle that only confirmed the inevitable denouement that occurred in so many colonies after the Second World War. And how did Agincourt, in 1415, get thrown into the mix? And how did William Shakespeare decide to provide his own account? Questions that provided the motive force for a read.The play was written almost two centuries after the battle. It remains a famous English victory, so Shakespeare was playing to the home-town crowd. The English were seriously outnumbered. How outnumbered is still a matter of dispute today. Shakespeare says five to one. It was the English long bowman that carried the day, launching a deadly hail of arrows that pierced French armor. And the French led themselves into poor battlefield placement that prevented them from bringing to bear their numerical strength. The battle itself, though central to the play, was not actually re-enacted. The play was primarily the fore and the aft.It is a good play in that many of the strategic considerations are covered. Like what was it about? The bottom line is that it was one of the many dynastic feuds that has racked Europe for centuries. A small group of “elites,” related, and re-related through marriages, have falling outs. Then they managed to convince a lot of the non-elites to go out onto some battlefield and settle it for them by trying to have the other set of non-elites die in greater numbers. To Henry V’s credit, unlike our modern leaders, he was out on the battlefield, in the fray. Henry claimed various parts of France, based on rights of succession going back to Charlemagne. Enforcing one’s “rights” carried numerous concerns. Henry worried that Scotland might attack while he was in France. And some English malcontents had an assassination plot that was uncovered before he left England. After the hurly-burly in Pas-de-Calais is done, how to cement the victory? In bed, of course, such a pleasant alternative. Henry woes and will marry the King of France’s daughter, Kate. Which really re-re-relates things, not to mention fostering a few genetic abnormalities thanks to all the in-breading.More so than any other Shakespeare play, but perhaps fittingly, due to the locale, there is a large amount of French dialogue. For non-French speakers, all is indexed and translated in an appendix. The play itself is roughly half the total text in this volume. There are numerous others sections that provide both insight into the life and times of Shakespeare himself, as well as explanations and notes on the historical context of the play set in the early 1400’s. There are also a couple dynastic charts, so the reader can keep track of some of his other plays, named after other English rulers. There is even a section on the famous lines and phrases from the play.Perhaps the most famous phrase came from a speech by Henry V, and was borrowed by Stephen Ambrose: “We band of brothers.” And that is why most soldiers fight, be it in 1415 with Henry or 1944-45, with the 101st Airborne. Small unit cohesion. Not to lose face, or let your friends down. That motive force worked, five centuries apart, in northern France, and elsewhere. This was the first of Shakespeare’s histories that I have read, and I found it to be a good introduction. 5-stars. 1 of 1 people found the following review helpful. FOLGERS LIBRARY SHAKESPEARE IS THE BEST By C.C.K."Judy" What can I say......as a lover of all Shakespeare's works this is just a great historic story about Kings and their families and how disfunctional they are and were even back then and how grabbing the crown and keeping it any way you can seemed to be the order of the day. The Folgers books are so very well detailed. Not only the play itself but the explanation of words and situations on the page across from the scene itself helps even those new to Shakespeare better understand the old English expressions of that time. The life of Shakespeare is told in every book and comments on the play and reference books to look up if you are of a mind to pursue further knowledge of the play and the times. Nobody beats Folgers Library if you want to understand the best of Shakespeare. 2 of 2 people found the following review helpful. No annotations! By William Norfleet Bizarre! The book contains no annotations. The text looks like a badly formatted computer printout. It ends with an eight-page general biography of Shakespeare, author unknown. In fact, the only attribute in the whole book is on the last page: Made in USA Middletown, DE 10 September 2016(The book was shipped to me on 13 September 2016.)The text of the biography calls out 79 references, none of which are included in the book.I can only shake my head and repeat: Bizarre! See all 92 customer reviews...
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