Since the primary focus of Henry V is his campaigns in France, I thought it would be helpful to review exactly why he wants to bother with conquering France in the first place (besides, you know, glory). Henry V decides to restart the war started by his grandfather, Edward III, known as the Hundred Years … Continue reading Why War with France?
Why Are the History Plays So Hard?! There is little doubt that the Henriad is much better than the Henry VI plays. There’s little doubt that pretty much all of the history plays are better than the Henry Vi plays. Despite being well-written and largely entertaining, they can still be quite difficult to work through. … Continue reading From Confusion to Rage
Act IV, Scene 2 Prince John warmly welcomes all of the rebels to the meeting, but makes sure to lay on a thin layer of guilt. The Archbishop of York maintains that they are not fighting against peace, but to right the wrongs they have suffered. The wrongs that have been pushed out of court. … Continue reading 2 Henry IV Part 3
One of the major focuses of 2 Henry IV is reflecting on the past and dealing with the consequences. We see much more of the older characters as power shifts from one generation to the next, so it is helpful to get a refresher on what transpired up until this point. It all started with … Continue reading Reflecting on the Past of Henry IV
By usurping Richard III in 1485, Henry Tudor (now Henry VII) brought about the end of the Wars of the Roses, decades of turmoil for the English people. The Tudor Dynasty meant a long period of peace and prosperity for England...at least that is what they wanted us to believe. Unfortunately for the Tudors, Henry’s … Continue reading Decontructing the Tudor Myth
Act IV, Scene 1 Hotspur showers Douglas with compliments, which he graciously accepts. Just then, a messenger comes in bearing the unfortunate news that Hotspur’s father, Northumberland has taken ill and won’t be able to bring his army to meet them. They worry that this will dampen the spirits of their men and look like … Continue reading 1 Henry IV Part 3
It will surprise no one to know that Shakespeare took a fair amount of creative liberty when presenting the history of Henry IV's reign. He did this in part to create a more compelling story and in part to satisfy the Tudor propaganda that was extremely relevant to his ability to produce plays. First, he … Continue reading Introduction to Henry IV, Part 1