King Henry V
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Newly crowned King Henry decides to celebrate his inauguration by invading France after the French Dauphin insults him with a dirty joke. The invasion is not solely about the insult, though: Henry is haunted by his dissolute youthful past spent drinking in taverns, and England is still a divided nation plagued by civil wars. A foreign war offers the king an opportunity to prove his fitness to reign and the nation a chance to come together in support of a common cause. Henry proves to be a charismatic leader and a successful soldier. He roots out would-be traitors in his own troops and battles his way across France. He is able to relate to the common people, speaking to them of unity and brotherhood and mingling with them in the camps. The climactic battle of the war takes place at Agincourt, where the English troops are severely outnumbered by the French. There Henry delivers a passionate, rousing speech urging his men to unite. Against all odds the English defeat the French and unite the two great kingdoms under a commanding, compelling ruler. Henry V is a fittingly triumphant end to Shakespeare’s sequence of the four history plays known as the Henriad.
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Opening Lines (Experimental)
KING HENRY V.
DUKE OF GLOUCESTER, brother to the King.
DUKE OF BEDFORD, brother to the King.
DUKE OF EXETER, uncle to the King.
DUKE OF YORK, cousin to the King.
EARL OF SALISBURY.
EARL OF WESTMORELAND.
EARL OF WARWICK.
ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY.
BISHOP OF ELY.
EARL OF CAMBRIDGE.
Ratings for 'King Henry V' by Shakespeare, William