• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Henry V Act 4 Scene 3.

Extracts from this document...


Henry V Act 4 Scene 3 "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers-" One of the many recognisable quotes from Shakespeare, but do we know who said it, why it was said, or the effect that these words had on the listener? They are far more than simply emotive, to be spoken on stage, but part of one of the great shining examples of military patriotism to date. It stirs up honour, courage and excitement in the audience, and makes heroic, one of the most brutal inventions of mankind-War. King Henry the Fifth's speech to his army, before battle, on the fields of Agincourt shows the full extent of Shakespeare's talent for persuasive language. Henry was a man with a mission, he felt called by God to confirm the Plautagenet dynasty on the throne of England, and to unite the thrones of England and France. The speech is used by Henry to rally his troops together, to put to rest their worries, and to assure them that they will be victorious, even though they are all exhausted, cold wet and hungry. ...read more.


Then, Henry explains to the crowd that he is not covetous of riches but is covetous of honour, 'if it be a sin to covet honour, I am the most offending soul alive.' and does not want to share that honour with one man more and begs his cousin to take back his wish for more men. He repeats the plea to his cousin from earlier for emphasis. Shakespeare at this point writes so that Henry seems to be almost thinking out loud and suddenly brings him back to talking to Westmorland. He offers any man who does not want to fight, safe passage home and money for the journey. For, 'We would not die in that man's company,that fears his fellowship to die with us.' Henry uses the royal 'we' to imply that everyone shares his opinion. Henry reminds the crowd that this day is St Crispian's Day (25th October), a day associated with the martyrdom of two brothers. He tells them that on the anniversary of this day, every man who has survived the battle will celebrate with pride. ...read more.


Shakespeare brings the growing tension of this magnificent speech to a triumphant crescendo. And probably at this point in the original performance, the crowd begins to cheer. The only proper way to read a play is to imagine the scene in your head, being acted out in front of you. If you could imagine this scene as it was originally staged, you would have seen Henry slowly take centre stage as the speech progressed and because of Shakespeare's haunting rhythm (iambic pentameter,) there would probably have been a drum beat in the background, get louder and louder. The speech is thought of as one of Shakespeare's finest and has brought encouragement and guidance to some real-life military leaders. President John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert F. Kennedy loved the speech (RFK could recite it by heart), and when Sir Winston Churchill inspired the British in World War II with his words, "Never, in the field of human conflict, has so much been owed by so many to so few," he undoubtedly had Henry V's speech ("We few, we happy few, we band of brothers") in mind. This famous scene from a military epic, does not entirely justify war, but rather shows how hundreds of people can be sucked-in by clever propaganda. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Henry V section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Henry V essays

  1. Comparison of Olivier (1944) and Branagh's (1989) screen adaptations of Henry V

    There are swift cuts between characters. When we do see Henry - Branagh has given his character the benefit of height compelling the audience to observe a silent dominance. A camera technique Branagh makes use of persistently is the concentrated close-up shots of Williams filling most of the screen.

  2. In the tradition of aesthetics, Oscar Wilde said, “There is no such thing as ...

    Dorian does no live his own life and he is dissatisfied with his new life. Basil confronts Dorian about all the bad things that are being said about him in London. "The most dreadful things are being said against you in London" Basil is trying to help Dorian and make him aware of what's going on.

  1. The character of Henry V fulfilled the Tudor ideal of the perfect leader and ...

    Branagh, stretched to conceal nothing from his audience, and indeed the way he actually films his work is a stark contrast to that of Olivier's. When comparing the way the two are filmed we can observe that whilst Olivier's version is set upon lavish backdrops and begins on a stage

  2. Media Comparative Essay: Concerning the 2 well known film versions of Shakespeare's Henry V ...

    Sequentially, another point to acknowledge is the stepping on a twig, gathering attention from the other characters - an obvious film clich´┐Ż. One could state that Branagh has used a more mainstream technique suitably for ease and to match the film period.

  1. Shakespeare's Henry V: More Pageant than Play?

    For instance the view of Henry expressed in the Epilogue. "In little room confining mighty men, Mangling by starts the full course of their glory. Small time, but in that small time most greatly lived This star of England. Fortune made his sword By which the world's best garden he achieved, And of it left his son imperial lord."

  2. How does Shakespeare present King Henry to his audience?

    Irony is created, cleverly by Shakespeare through Henry when he asks the traitors Scroop, Cambridge and Gray their opinion on the matter. "Let him be punished sovereign, lest example" Henry uses wit and intelligence to deceive the traitors into awarding punishment for crime before handing them written orders which in fact detail their own treachery.

  1. Explore how Shakespeare creates humour for the audience in the scenes in which the ...

    Falstaff is once again caught in the house of Mistress Ford and this time the wives planned to dress him up as the "fat woman of Brentford", a character Ford despises.

  2. Comparing Shakespeare's Henry V to Kenneth Branagh's 1989 Film.

    The audience is called upon to use their imaginations in helping to set the scene and to help them to ignore all the incongruencies of the play. The Chorus asks the audience to picture the armed forces and their horses and the battle scenes that took place when watching the play.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work