William Shakespeare

Screenplay and Direction by
Kenneth Branagh

Henry V is the last of four plays of Shakespeare's second tetralogy, which chronicle Henry IV's deposition of Richard II and the civil wars that plagued his reign as a result in part of his shaky title to the English crown. On his deathbed, Henry IV told his son and heir to the throne that the incessant civil strife in his reign had prevented him from carrying out his intention to lead an army of his countrymen to the Holy Land in order to avoid that very turmoil. He desired such a "crusade,"he told his son, "Lest rest and lying still might make them look /Too near unto my state." He advised the future king "to busy giddy minds with foreign quarrels, that action hence borne out/ May waste the memory of the former days" (Henry IV, Part II, IV..v.208-216). At the beginning of Henry V, we see the new king planning a foreign war.

The recommended selections from the film are from the 1993 movie version directed by directed by Kenneth Branagh. The material from Shakespeare's play that is in brackets was omitted from Branagh's film.

First Henry V reading--Scenes 1-4
(The Churchmen and Henry; The Decision to Invade France;
Henry's Battle Speech at Harfleur; and Taking Harfleur)

Second Henry V reading--Scenes 5 and 6
(The Night Before Agincourt
and The Saint Crispin's Day Speech)

Third Henry V reading--Scene 7
(Henry's Courtship of Katherine)


Henry V Questions

Guide to unit 2

back to unit 2