Review: Henry V

Henry V
Henry V by William Shakespeare

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Pretty good.
Henry is King of England, and he claims part of France as his kingdom as well. He goes and fights for it and wins it. His tone of the happy warrior appeals to the heart and produces loyalty in his men.

But Henry also knows his troubled past, that his ancestors took the crown from another king. It's harder to claim divine right of kings when you took the crown from another king! Henry is pious and gives God all the glory for his victories. He also wants to make up for his fathers' sins while acknowledging he can't do enough works of merit for that.

His general solution is to be the people's king. He lives among them, gets to know them, rubs shoulders with the common man. He seeks to derive legitimacy at least in part from popularity with the commoner. He is a transitional figure in this way from medieval to modern times.

A few quotes:
"We happy few, we band of brothers"
Harry motivates his men to fight at Agincourt by appealing to their brotherhood with him.

"Once more unto the breach"
Courage in fighting, and returning to the fight.

"Love is blind"
Henry woos the King of France's daughter with appealing modesty, magnanimous in victory.

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