Sunday, January 29, 2012

HENRY V - Introduction

The What:  The Play Henry V, as originally titled The Cronicle Hiftory of Henry the fift, was written by William Shakespeare in about 1599. There are no typos in the title above—there is no h in chronicle, there is an f in History, and there is no h in fift—see the picture of the title page below.

The Who:  Henry V, King of England, who ruled from 1386 until 1422.

The Where:  The majority of Henry V takes place near Azincourt, France.

The When:  Before, during and after the Battle of Agincourt which took place on St. Crispan's Day, Friday, October 25, 1415.

I was introduced to Shakespeare during my stays at summer sleepaway camp in upstate NY. We took day trips to the Stratford Theatre Fesitval, in Connecticutt, so by the time I was 12 years of age, I was lucky enough to have seen several Shakespeare plays performed by the professional players at this delightful venue. Unfortunately, the theatre has since closed, though some effort seems to be in progress to reopen it.

Henry V was not one of the plays I saw at Stratford. It wasn't until 2009 that I became intrigued with Henry V, and its famous lines often referred to as the St. Crispan's Day or Band of Brothers speech, at the installation of Heather DuBrow as John D. Boyd, S.J., Chair in Poetic Imagination in the English department at Fordham University where I work.