Henry V is Shakespeare’s most famous “war play”; it includes the storied English victory over the French at Agincourt. Some of it glorifies war, especially the choruses and Henry’s speeches urging his troops into battle. But we also hear bishops conniving for war to postpone a bill that would tax the church, and soldiers expecting to reap profits from the conflict. Even in the speeches of Henry and his nobles, there are many chilling references to the human cost of war.
The authoritative edition of Henry V from The Folger Shakespeare Library, the trusted and widely used Shakespeare series for students and general readers, includes:
Henry V was a massive undertaking because it is a long and complex play with so many characters it was hard to follow. Besides, the confusing aspect it was still an interesting read that I was able to pick apart for my Shakespeare class.
The fact that the play had characters from Henry 4 (another Shakespeare play) made it confusing during my first read through. I feel like I need to go back and read that one to really understand the relationship between Henry and Flagstaff and the other commoner characters.
The humor that laced throughout the play came as a surprise because I was expecting a straight forward history. However, the play was a mixture of comedy, tragedy, action, and even romance in the last scene.
I would recommend checking this out, mainly for the beautiful language and Shakespeare's ability to subtly weave in social issues like political marriage and war.
4 Stars Out of 5