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Henry V (Wars of the Roses #4)

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  24,145 ratings  ·  633 reviews
The introduction includes an examination of the Quarto and texts, and of the relationship between them; a critical discussion of the play's historical and literary sources; an examination of conflicting critical attitudes to the play, and of its fluctuating theatrical fortunes; and a demonstration of the range and variety of Shakespeare's characterization.
About the Series
Paperback, 281 pages
Published August 1st 2008 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1600)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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I read this play a few weeks ago, but haven’t figured out exactly what to say about it. It’s been sitting there, just waiting to be reviewed; I’ve been negligent. If you look at the poor book now, you’ll notice that its tights are all wrinkled, it’s codpiece is all askew, and it’s in desperate need of a shave. It’s taken to habitual television watching; CSI: Miami. I just want to put it out of its misery. So here I go.

I haven’t stopped thinking about this play since I finished reading it. I was
Thanks to Kenneth Branagh, this Henry history play was the cool Shakespeare movie when I was in high school. Eat your heart out Franco Zeffirelli. Mr. Branagh acted and directed his butt off. There were lots of arrows flying between England and France. The French were portrayed as snobs, a testament to the Bard’s high research standards. The original score was majestic. Did I mention the cool arrows?

Honestly, I’m still not sure why England and France were fighting—something about tennis balls b
As I finish the second tetralogy's finale, King Henry V , I contemplate Shakespeare's effect on the presentation of history. He devotes nearly half of his theatrical contributions to stories plotted in reality rather than born of his imagination. I have argued before that Shakespeare, blessed with a genius' perspective, sees art not only in the creative arena but in reality. The presentation of the human condition happens among humans and not within the faculties of one's mind. Yet in order to p ...more
A somewhat unexpected development at at the end of a four-play series ("The Henriad"). Shakespeare comes across as remarkably cynical in the first three plays, yet in this one he takes as mostly sincere the moral reformation of Henry V, and the superiority of English/British honor (while peppering the play with a bit of ethnic humor, Shakespeare upholds the honor of the Welsh, whose main defect is merely that they speak a bit funny). To a large extent the play seems most like a "history play" am ...more
"For God, Harry, and St George!"

Lord, what a play. Shakespeare is often times enjoyable, but I love to refer to this as the ultimate coming of age story. Every young man in the world deserves to see this performed.

The play is really, in my opinion, a cluster of insecurities facing young men. From his mockery at the hands of the Dauphin, to his proving his worth in combat, to the pressure put on him as king, the judgments he is forced to make, and maybe even a little romance, you will see Harry
Even for those whose introduction to Shakespeare has afforded them a positive experience -- thanks, perhaps, to a solid production of "Macbeth" or "Midsummer's Night's Dream" -- I think there's some trepidation about the history plays. I was no exception, feeling that my complete ignorance of the British monarchs would leave me unable to understand or enjoy the stories as told by Shakespeare.

I felt that way until my wife and I started seeing productions at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Altho
What I thought would happen in this play – the fourth in the sequence of ‘prequels’ Shakespeare wrote to his three Henry VI plays and Richard III – was that young Hal, now King Henry V, would show he had come of age, finally become a real hero and fulfilled his promise from Henry IV part I – “And like bright metal on sullen ground, / My reformation, glitt’ring o’er my fault / Shall show more goodly, and attract more eyes, / Than that which hath no foil to set it off.” All this I had expected – a ...more
I honestly liked the parts focused on Henry, his characters and the nature of his role as King; but there seemed to be so much unnecessary information in between. it read a bit like:

Blah Blah France England Blah France Blah Onto the Breach Blah Blah England Money France Blah France Je n'aime pas l'anglais Blah Blah Money Death Honour Blah France England Blah Blah Blah Fighting Gloves Agincourt Blah Blah Minor existential crisis Blah Blah Kings are regular guys Blah Marriage? Blah Blah Blah Je pe
Pete daPixie
It is not easy for me to award high star ratings to texts of plays, even those from the pen of William Shakespeare. The Oxford Shakespeare series transforms the simple lines of the drama into something much greater. 'Henry V' is revealed in all it's glory as almost every line of dialogue is presented with explanations of the Elizabethan politic mindset, the historical sources and sixteenth century colloquialisms.
On stage or film set this play has become a monumental work. Right from the opening
I taught this play for 18 years, not because I thought it was Shakespeare's best history, but because of Branaugh's wonderful cutting of it which makes this play so much more teachable. The two Henry IV plays are better with their complicated politics, the tension between the King and his wayward son, wonderful characters like Hotspur, and, of course, his best comic creation in Falstaff. But they're harder to read mainly because of the use of low class slang in the Falstaff scenes. Henry V is ea ...more
Jen Chough
May 29, 2009 Jen Chough rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jen by: Inspired to read due to music from the movie
This is perhaps my favorite work of Shakespeare. When given the choice to read and write about ANTYHING (even a comic) as my last senior paper in AP English, it was a no-brainer to pull this play out. It's got it all - action, humor, drama, politics, and probably some of the most stirring and inspirational pre-battle speeches known to mankind. I mean, the stuff in here blows anything in Braveheart out of the water. "Once more unto the breach" and "St. Crispin's Day" will instill courage into eve ...more
We few, we happy few. We band of brothers...

The St. Crispen's day speech alone is well worth the price of admission! Other books have similar calls to arm, but I have read none so stirring as those in Henry V.

And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
Brian Robbins
A delightful, rip-roaring read. Much more enjoyable than both parts of Henry IV, as it did not have Falstaff & crew in those interminable "comic" scenes.

I understand that many people love the character of Falstaff, but he and his appearances left me cold. I was just glad when he croaked it in this play. That may well be a blind spot in me & maybe I am missing something. If so please do show me what it is.

Elena Yurievna

Well well, not so cute play this time, but anyways very good. This is a patriotic tell about the most patriotic political figure-king Henry V-and everything in this play is patriotic.

But first things first. What I liked about this play. I liked the character of Henry V, his amazing transformation through previous plays (Henry IV Parts 1&2), liked his speeches and witty jokes with common soldiers. Henry V must be the most patriotic figure in Shakespeare
A me l'Henry V fa venire voglia di invadere la Francia.
Un po' perchè i nobili francesi, soprattutto il Delfino, vengono presentati furbescamente da Shakespeare come degli stupidotti che alla vigilia della battaglia si mettono a parlare dei loro cavalli, un po' come farebbero gli uomini d'oggi con le loro macchine, ma soprattutto perchè re Henry è presentato come un vero leader, pieno di carisma per il quale vale la pena combattere e morire.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
è for
27 Jan 2013 -- I wavered between rating this book with 3 and 4 stars -- 3.5 would be more fitting. It tells the story of Henry V's transformation from a wild and unruly youth, surrounded by the likes of Sir John Falstaff, to his rise to glory as King of England and conqueror of France. As the Archbishop of Canterbury says at the play's onset: "The courses of his youth promised not. The breath no sooner left his father's body,/But that his wildness mortified him,/Seemed to die too: yea, at that v ...more
Bill  Kerwin

Sure, it's a jingoistic pageant, but it's a great jingoistic pageant, and--besides--it is the most melancholy,ironic, self-aware--and laugh-filled--jingoistic pageant ever staged. In Act V, Henry tells Katherine that together they will produce a son, and that this warlike paragon of chivalry will march to the Holy Land and "take the Turk by the beard." Yet we should know--and Shakespeare's audience certainly knew--that this boy would grow up to be Henry VI, the sickly, prayerful unstable man who
not my fav Shakespeare, I found it pretty boring..too many long speeches
I need to read more Shakespeare. There is a lot to learn and think about in these words. I probably need to stop and read slower to learn more, but I did like this play and want to read more.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

"One other sense in which Henry V deserves to be called, can hardly avoid being called, 'epic': it is a study of human greatness. Greatness need not be, indeed almost never is, morally perfect: Achilles may be great but he is not in any conventional sense 'good.' Nor is g
Feeling frustrated?:

Now are you?

You're welcome!

(Just in case anyone forgot how awesome this is for a minute.)
Tyson Adams
It just doesn't get any better than this!!

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
You want to know how to inspire people? Lead? Kill thousands of swishy Frenchman in a matter of hours? This is the play for you.

I don't know if King Harry was really anything like this, but I'm going with it. What I love about this character is his change. This is a guy that starts out as the typical royal brat, not unlike the current prince harry. But when the chips are down, and he's now King, he puts his people first. He has his old drinking buddy executed because he refused to give anyone s
I went and saw Anonymous the other day and was surprised that I liked the film, especially since I find the central thesis of the film utterly repugnant. But then, having watched the film, I realized something. I wondered what if the whole point of the film, which tries to overturn what is essentially an unassailable fact, that Shakespeare wrote the plays traditionally attributed to him, and not the Earl of Oxford (who in the film is played by the same guy who is Hugh Grant's flat mate in Nottin ...more
"What's he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man fro
Henry V is the play that made me fall in love with Shakespeare. The moment I heard Kenneth Branagh say “we few, we happy few, we band of brothers, …” my heart just stopped.

Until I watched Branagh’s film I didn't like Shakespeare, I only knew Romeo and Juliet and I just couldn't understand why he didn't wrote a happy ending for that play, was it really that difficult to make Juliet wake up a few minutes earlier? (in my defense let me the say that I was only 13).

That film made me want to read the
Jul 12, 2007 Joseph rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: erybody
Shakespeare is a monster I guess. I used to be all types of caught up on the inspirational speeches...."we few, we happy few, we band of brothers"....but it is pretty clear that Shakespeare was smarter than that.....

Now I can't get away from the quarrel between Williams and King Henry on the eve of the battle:

BATES: He may show what outward courage he will, but I believe, as cold a night as 'tis, he could wish himself in Thames up to the neck; and so I would he were, and I by him, at all adventu
I had a sudden impulse to read this again and sat down and read it all in a night. I rediscovered favorite speeches and experienced a greater understanding of the conflict of Henry's personal transformation from Prince Hal to King Henry. There is, of course, Shakespeare's masterful articulation of a kind of warrior poet in the speeches of Henry and others, but this time I found myself more compelled by the quieter moments of contemplation regarding existence and relationship. Shakespeare is alwa ...more
Paul Servini
Reading through a number of Shakespeare plays at the moment, most of which I had already read. But this one I had not. It was particularly interesting for the insights it gave into how war could be portrayed on stage. I was also fascinated by Shakespeare's knowledge of French. He knew the language so well, he could even write it badly - as an Englishman with little knowledge of the language would.
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William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been tr ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Wars of the Roses (8 books)
  • Richard II
  • King Henry IV, Part 1 (Wars of the Roses, #2)
  • Henry IV, Part 2 (Wars of the Roses, #3)
  • Henry VI, Part 1
  • King Henry VI, Part 2
  • King Henry VI, Part 3
  • Richard III
Romeo and Juliet Hamlet Macbeth A Midsummer Night's Dream Othello

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34 trivia questions
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“From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.”
“[Thine] face is not worth sunburning.” 206 likes
More quotes…