Henry V Gender Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line)
Dat is as it shall please de roi mon pére. (5.2.257)
Catherine knows that she's being used as a political pawn. When Henry begs her to marry him, she points out that it's not up to her. Her marriage will be decided by the king, her father, who is busy signing away his daughter as part of a peace treaty with England.
Let us die. Once more! Back again!
And he that will not follow Bourbon now,
let him go home and with his cap in his hand
Like a base pander hold the chamber door,
Whilst a slave no gentler than my dog,
His fairest daughter is contaminate. (4.5.13-18)
As some of the French soldiers retreat, Bourbon orders them to go back and fight. If they don't, they're nothing better than fathers who hold the door open for rapists to enter their homes and rape their daughters. This analogy between conquest and rape will surface again in the play (see below).
KING OF FRANCE
Yes, my lord, you see them perspectively,
the cities turned into a maid, for they are all
girdled with maiden walls that war hath editorial never
Shall Kate be my wife?
KING OF FRANCE
So please you.
I am content, so the maiden cities you
talk of may wait on her. So the maid that stood in
the way for my wish shall show me the way to my
When Charles agrees to let Henry have Catherine as part of the peace treaty between France and England, both kings use the language of warfare to talk about sex and marriage. Charles suggests that the walled cities Henry hasn't managed to conquer are like "maids" (virgins) that have yet to be penetrated. Still, Henry quickly points out that, because he's conquered France (with his army), he'll soon be conquering/penetrating another maid, Catherine.