Siteseen Logo

Henry V

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

Summary of the plot or story
King Henry IV has died and his son Prince Hal reigns. It's war with France and all England rises up to back the King. At the city of Harfleur, the King and his forces encounter stiff resistance and King Hal rally's his forces with the patriotic rallying speech "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more..." England is united under Henry's leadership and win Harfleur. He then goes on to win the Battle of Agincourt and the French King surrenders.

He offers Henry the hand of his daughter, Katherine of Valois, in marriage so uniting England and France. After he marries Katherine, peace rules, and they have a son. However, after King Hal dies and his son becomes Henry VI, war again looms on the horizon. 

Information provided about the play
William Shakespeare never published any of his plays and therefore none of the original manuscripts have survived. Eighteen unauthorised versions of his plays were, however, published during his lifetime in quarto editions by unscrupulous publishers (there were no copyright laws protecting Shakespeare and his works during the Elizabethan era). A collection of his works did not appear until 1623 ( a full seven years after Shakespeare's death on April 23, 1616) when two of his fellow actors, John Hemminges and Henry Condell, posthumously recorded his work and published 36 of William’s plays in the First Folio. Some dates are therefore approximate other dates are substantiated by historical events, records of performances and the dates plays appeared in print.

Date first performed
It is believed that the play was first performed between 1598 and 1599. In the Elizabethan era 
there was a huge demand for new entertainment and Henry V would have been produced immediately following the completion of the play.

Date first printed
It is believed that the script was first printed in 1600. As William Shakespeare clearly did not want his work published details of the play would have therefore been noted, and often pirated without his consent, following a performance.

Theme of Henry V
The play is categorised as a History

Number of words
The number of words in the script, according to the Complete Public Domain Text is 27,684.

Most important characters
The most important characters are:
Henry V, King of England introduced as Prince Hal and Katherine

Famous Quotes / Quotations
The quotes from Henry V are amongst Shakespeare's most famous including 'Once more unto the breach, dear friends' and 'Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'. Details of these famous quotes follow, complete with information regarding the Act and the Scene, allowing a quick reference to the section of the play that these quotations can be found in. Please click here for the full text of the script of the play.

"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers . . ." (Act IV, Scene III)

"This star of England: fortune made his sword . . ."
Chorus (Epilogue)

"Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’ "
(Act III, Scene I)

"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more / Or close the wall up with our English dead!"
(Act III, Scene I)

Henry V was based on real people and events taken from English history. The characters are from the royal Houses of Lancaster and York.
House of Lancaster
Henry IV ("Bolingbroke," son of the Duke of Lancaster), 1399-1413. 
Henry V (son of Henry IV), 1413-1422.
Henry VI (son of Henry V, deposed), 1422-1471. 
House of York:
Edward IV (son of duke of York), 1461-1483.
Edward V (son of Edward IV), 1483.
Richard III ("Crookback," brother of Edward IV) 1483-1485. 

We recommend the following link to access facts, information, a biography and timeline of
King Henry V

William Shakespeare's Main Source
he Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland by Raphael Holinshed

The drama has inspired other works, such as film versions starring both Kenneth Branaugh and the famous version by Laurence Olivier 

The Cast and Characters
Click the link to access a list of all the cast and characters.

Full text - script of Henry V play by William Shakespeare
Cast and characters in Henry V play by William Shakespeare
Index of plays by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare Site Map
Page Back
William Shakespeare Index

Privacy Statement

Cookie Policy

© 2017 Siteseen Ltd