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Henry V

(Wars of the Roses #4)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  36,936 Ratings  ·  1,092 Reviews
Henry V is Shakespeare’s most famous “war play”; it includes the storied English victory over the French at Agincourt. Some of it glorifies war, especially the choruses and Henry’s speeches urging his troops into battle. But we also hear bishops conniving for war to postpone a bill that would tax the church, and soldiers expecting to reap profits from the conflict. Even in ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 22nd 2004 by Washington Square Press (first published 1599)
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Bill  Kerwin
May 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing

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
Ahmad Sharabiani
Henry IV, Part 2 (Wars of the Roses, #3), William Shakespeare
Henry IV, Part 2 is a history play by William Shakespeare believed to have been written between 1596 and 1599. It is the third part of a tetralogy, preceded by Richard II and Henry IV, Part 1 and succeeded by Henry V. The play is often seen as an extension of aspects of Henry IV, Part 1, rather than a straightforward continuation of the historical narrative, placing more emphasis on the highly popular character of Falstaff and introduc
Henry Avila
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A young dynamic king, in his late twenties very ambitious wants and needs to become ruler of two significant nations, the King , Henry v , of England, by a dubious claim has come to conqueror France in the name of peace... he destroys. His father, Henry IV, an usurper murdered his own first cousin to gain the throne, a traitor for sure, however winners write the history books an are accepted as heroes, it will always be this. Nevertheless dies from a horrible disease soon after, justice maybe... ...more
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Do I hear the drums of war? Hal has drawn all the attention away from divided England with a time-honored ploy of kings of any unsure stripe... Let's kick the shit out of France!

Even though Henry V is a bright light and his fortunes burn ever brighter, it's hard to go through this story without feeling a lot of heavy sorrow for how he burned up his friends in his rise and how he shed no tears as he learned of all his youthful adventurer's deaths, save one, and he was only a boy in a skirmish aft
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, shakespeare, drama
“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. For he to day that sheds his blood with me, shall be my brother.”
― William Shakespeare, Henry V, Act 4, Scene 3


It is hard to find fault with Henry V. It isn't Shakespeare's BEST, but his best are almost mythicly high and unassailable. But Henry V is pretty damn good and it owns one of the greatsest and most memorable monologues ever (Hal's St. Crispin's Day speech). It also has more French imbeded into it than any other Shakespeare play than I can thi
Aug 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If ever I had to have a crush on an actual English King, it might have been Henry V. It probably would have been in vain since he doesn't seem to have had much affection for anyone but who cares. The scandalous youth vanished some time before Henry IV died and when Henry V was crowned king, he showed the world.

Hal has become a stern but fair ruler who apparently didn't smile (or only slightly and not very often) and was a cunning politician who made sure England's treasury was refilled. But this
James Tivendale
Sep 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: shakespeare, plays
This is probably my favourite Shakespeare play. As always the language and poetry is amazing. I love reading Shakespeare as I often find my head swaying in time to the rhythm of the verse. I sometime speak it out loud too and hope I don't wake up my sleeping father lol. This is one of the longest Shakespeare plays I have read however; he is presenting an important period in the history of Britain. A key point in the War of the Roses.

Henry V, with his great-granddad Edward III are my favourite Br
نقد روز
هنری پنجم در قالب یک قهرمان بی رحم، تجسمی است از ماهیت رهبری و ارتباط آن با اخلاقیات. نمایشنامه بر این باور است که یک حاکم خوب لزوما نباید همان ویژگی های مثبت یک انسان خوب را داشته باشد. هنری یک رهبر فوق العاده خوب است. او باهوش، متمرکز و الهام بخش است. او برای دستیابی به اهدافش از هر وسیله ای استفاده می کند. هنری که ویلیام شکسپیر خلق می کند شخصیتی جذاب است که به راحتی می تواند با سوژه هایش ارتباط برقرار کند و با کمک آن ها در جهت دستیابی به اهدافش تلاش کند. این ها کارهایی هستند که هر رهبر خوبی ا ...more
Rebecca McNutt
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Henry V is often quite disturbing at times, but in my opinion it's one of Shakespeare's best and most original plays.
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: drama
If you go to the Holden St theatres one of the things they have on during the 2017 Fringe Festival in Adelaide is Macbeth with zombies. As you may do, but I don't. My faith in the resilience of Shakespeare goes so far and no further.

I suspect this on its own put me off Henry V Man and Monarch, mashup of Henry IV, V and VI. How wrong was I to judge the one on the back of the other. It's a one man show by Australian RADA graduate Brett Brown and it's a wondrous thing to behold, this young man bein
Cindy Rollins
Following on the heels of Much Ado we can see that Shakespeare's powers are at their zenith during this time period. I love Henry V and have read it several times out loud to the children and we have watched several versions. It is also a wonderful play for boys who love the St. Crispin's Day Speech on the fields of Agincourt.

One of my favorite cinematic scenes of all time is Kenneth Brannagh's Dona Nobis scene after the battle where he carries the little boy killed by the French. Perhaps it is
May 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
David Sarkies
Jul 22, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who love
Recommended to David by: University
Shelves: historical
An English Hero
13 January 2011

I originally read this play because it was set during the Hundred Years War and I wanted to use it as a primary source. Unfortunately it is not a primary source since it was written 150 years after the events depicted and the essay was about the English Parliament's influence on the war, which this play has nothing to do with. This is another example of why I would love to go back and redo those classes to see how well my essays come out now that I know a lot more.
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have argued, with support from a couple of my senior Shakespeareans at SAA (like Ralph Berry), that Henry V is the comedy Shakespeare promised at the end of 2 Henry 4, epilog: "to continue the story, with Sir John [Falstaff] in it. " But after the actor who played Falstaff disappeared (Will Kemp--probably to tour Germany), Shakespeare created a very different kind of comedy, a reconciliation of conflicting nationalities in the usual comic resolution, however preposterous: marriage. And in a th ...more
João Fernandes
(The Battle of Agincourt, 15th century illustration)

Edward II (you may remember him as the annoying whiny prince from Braveheart) married Isabella of France, daughter of King Charles VI. From their unwanted marriage sprung King Edward III, who apparently is the wet dream of English chivalry (we can't go half a play without hearing someone praise this guy).

Edward III claims the throne of France against his distant cousin Philip and the seemingly eternal conflict known as the Hundred Years War beg
Jun 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: drama
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
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Henry V is a history play written by Shakespeare in 1599. It tells the story of Henry V of House Lancaster who ruled England from 1413 to 1422. The play focuses on the events before and after the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, which marked a major English victory in the Hundred Years' War against France.

It is also the final part of Shakespeare's tetralogy consisting of Richard II, Henry IV Part 1, Henry IV Part 2 and Henry V. In the previous installments (which I haven't read) Henry has been depi
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
Ken Moten
Sep 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
We are often told war is hell, in this play Shakespeare shows us it is cruel too. While you would do good to have some background info on the actual people being portrayed blah, blah, blah, you also would do good with a little guide of Shakespeare's last historical plays Henry IV, Part 1 & Henry IV, Part 2. But even without it you would never the less see how torturous a campaign as Henry V's into France was. This is one of the Bard's better war plays mainly because he is doing it for his pa ...more
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, play, 2016
My first of Shakespeare's histories, and a comparatively straightforward one to read compared to some of his others - in part because the plot is so straightforward.

Rather than a complicated plot, the majority of the time is taken up bragging about how great England is, how silly and overconfident the French were. The rest of the time is spent with King Henry giving some really great and inspiring pre-battle speeches.

There's a couple odd things about the play that make me wonder if it was origin
May 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
"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
Nov 04, 2015 rated it really liked it

~Brushing up my Shakespeare!~




Well . . . talk about not delivering what was promised!

I'd have preferred it if Shakespeare had continued his comic side story with Falstaff, a character the audience already knew well and surely many liked for what he was meant to be, instead of the one he chose, Pistol, who's less known and not even a fraction as entertaining. In fact, he even feels a bit out of place in this play aimed at glorifying war so unapologetically, for being an incompetent fool instead of a funny incompetent fool.

Cry havoc and let slip the Dogs of War.

Considering the context this is a remarkably open work, no simple glorification of war or of a forerunner of the reigning monarch at a time when the ongoing wars in Ireland and the low countries must have meant that many in the audience had personal experience of war.
Erika Schoeps
Mar 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-for-school
It saddens me to give this a 3 star rating.

I read this for class and I'm honestly not sure why. This is the fourth play in a series on King Henry. I felt lost in the characters, which is more understandable for the History plays, but apparently (and this is a little obvious), I missed out on character development because this is the fourth book in a series. So, the character development doesn't hit as hard because I missed a bunch of it.

I'd like to re-read this sometime and have more backgroun
Aug 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
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
May 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 30, 2012 rated it liked it
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
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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

Other books in the series

Wars of the Roses (8 books)
  • Richard II
  • King Henry IV, Part 1
  • Henry IV, Part 2 (Wars of the Roses, #3)
  • Henry VI, Part 1
  • King Henry VI, Part 2
  • King Henry VI, Part 3
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35 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.” 238 likes
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