Enter your Sign on user name and password.

Forgot password?
Sign In | Subscribe
Start learning today, and be successful in your academic & professional career. Start Today!
Loading video...
This is a quick preview of the lesson. For full access, please Log In or Sign up.
For more information, please see full course syllabus of Shakespeare: Plays & Sonnets
  • Discussion

  • Study Guides

  • Download Lecture Slides

  • Table of Contents

  • Related Books & Services

Start Learning Now

Our free lessons will get you started (Adobe Flash® required).
Get immediate access to our entire library.

Sign up for Educator.com

Membership Overview

  • Unlimited access to our entire library of courses.
  • Search and jump to exactly what you want to learn.
  • *Ask questions and get answers from the community and our teachers!
  • Practice questions with step-by-step solutions.
  • Download lesson files for programming and software training practice.
  • Track your course viewing progress.
  • Download lecture slides for taking notes.
  • Learn at your own pace... anytime, anywhere!

Henry V

  • First Things First
    • This lesson will teach you how to read and understand a play by William Shakespeare, one of the greatest playwrights in the history of the English language (and the man who invented quite a lot of it).
    • These videos are not a substitute for reading Shakespeare, listening to Shakespeare, or watching Shakespeare performed.
    • Seriously. Don’t be that guy.
  • Background
    • Written 1599?
    • Taken from Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles
    • Part of a tetralogy
    • King Henry had appeared in Henry IVas the wild “Prince Harry”
    • One of Shakespeare’s earlier history plays
    • A Shakespearean action movie
  • Setting
    • England, early 1400s
    • An untried and uncertain young king
    • Recent civil wars
  • Major Characters
    • Henry V—Newly crowned king of England, formerly the dissolute “Prince Hal”
    • Cambridge, Scrope, and Grey—Noblemen who plot against Henry
    • Chorus—A narrator who speaks to the audience
    • Dukes of Exeter, Westmorland, Salisbury, and Warwick—Trusted advisors to King Henry, military leaders
    • Charles VI—King of France, smarter than his son
    • Dauphin—Brash and overconfident prince of France
    • Catherine—Daughter of Charles VI
    • CaptainFluellen, Captain MacMorris, Captain Jamy—Welsh, Irish, and Scottish captains in Henry’s army
    • Pistol, Bardolph, Nim—Commoners from London. They take on the Boy, a former page of the knight Falstaff
    • Michael Williams, John Bates, Alexander Court—Common soldiers who argue with the disguised Henry
    • Hostess—Wife of Pistol
    • Sir John Falstaff—Former friend of Henry. He does not appear in the play, but dies offstage.
  • Plot
    • The chorus
    • The plan to invade France
      • Some complicated reasoning
      • The change in the prince (from Henry IV)
      • Tennis balls
    • The plot against the prince
      • The tavern scene
      • Falstaff dies
      • Henry uncovers the plot
    • In France
      • The French king is worried
      • Henry’s demand: give up the crown
    • Charles’ offer: Catherine and a few small regions
    • Henry’s speech (“Once more unto the breach”) and its dubious reception
    • Harfleur surrenders
    • Catherine’s English lessons
    • French taunting
    • Hanging a friend
    • A French ultimatum
    • Henry in disguise
      • Pistol, Fluellen, and an exchange of gloves
      • Regrets and prayer
    • Agincourt
      • Outnumbered
      • St. Crispin’s Day
      • Pistol’s prisoner
      • French courage
    • Victory at Agincourt
      • Suffolk and York
      • The dead pages and the French prisoners
      • A prank with the glove
    • Aftermath
      • Pistol loses a wife and a home
      • Henry and Catherine
      • Raunchy humor
  • Themes
    • Heroism and ruthlessness—a “good” king
    • English diversity
    • Male bonding
    • The power of language
    • Kings and commoners
    • War
  • Major Passages
    • “O for a muse of fire …”

      -Act I, Scene 1, 1 ff.

    • “Then imitate the action of the tiger.
      Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
      Disguise fair nature with hard-favoured rage.
      Then lend the eye a terrible aspect …”

      -Act III Scene 1, 6-27

    • “’Tis not the balm, the sceptre, and the ball,
      The sword, the mace, the crown imperial …”

      -Act IV Scene 1, 242-266

    • “If we are marked to die, we are enough
      To do our country loss; and if to live,
      The fewer men, the greater share of honour …”

      -Act IV, Scene 3, 20-39

  • Jumping-Off Points
    • How does this play deal with relationships between men? Consider Henry’s betrayal of Falstaff, Pistol’s loyalty to his friends, and the deaths of York and Suffolk. What is Shakespeare saying about what it means to be a man among men?
    • What kind of king is Henry? Good? Bad? What does it mean to be a good or bad king in the context of this play? How does Henry line up against the French king Charles, or the Dauphin?
    • Examine how Henry uses language in this play, including both the Harfleur and St. Crispin’s Day speeches and his fumbling conversation with Catherine. How does he use words to his advantage?
    • Does this play glorify war and conquest? Is Shakespeare taking a different view?
    • How does this play deal with marriage, families, and parenting? Examine the husband-wife pairings (Henry and Catherine, Pistol and his wife) and the parent-child pairings (Charles and the Dauphin).
    • Shakespeare goes out of his way to portray the various peoples of the British Isles—the English, the Scots, the Irish, and the Welsh—as well as the different social classes. How does this play deal with diversity among the English forces?
  • The Secret of Understanding Shakespeare
    • Watch it performed (or on film if you can’t get to a theatrical production). All of Shakespeare makes more sense when it’s spoken by actors who have lived his words and know, bone-deep, what he’s talking about. Never underestimate the power of performance. Remember that this is how Shakespeare meant his work to be seen …

Henry V

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • First Things First 0:10
  • Lesson Overview 0:54
  • Background 1:38
  • Setting 2:56
  • Major Characters 3:26
    • Henry V
    • Cambridge, Scrope, Grey
    • Chorus
    • Dukes of Exeter
    • Charles VI
    • Dauphin
    • Catherine
    • King Fluellen
    • Pistol, Bardolph, Nim
    • Michael Williams, John Bates, Alexander Court
    • Hostess
    • Sir John Falstaff
  • Plot 6:22
    • The chorus
    • The plan to invade France
    • The plot against the prince
    • In France
    • Charles' offer
    • Henry's speech and its dubious reception
    • Harfleur surrenders
    • Catherine's English lessons
    • French taunting
  • Plot, cont. 12:22
    • Hanging a friend
    • A French ultimatum
    • Henry in disguise
    • Agincourt
  • Plot, cont. 17:14
    • Victory at Agincourt
    • Aftermath
  • Themes 19:44
  • Major Passages 22:14
    • Act I, scene 1, 1 ff
    • Act III, scene 1, 6-27
    • Act IV, scene 1, 242-266
    • Act IV, scene 3, 20-39
  • Jumping-off Points 25:12
    • How does the play deal with relationships between men?
    • What kind of king is Henry?
    • Examine Henry's use of language in the play
    • Does this play glorify war and conquest?
    • Marriage, families, and parenting
    • How does this play deal with diversity among the English forces?
  • The Secret of Understanding Shakespeare 28:09