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Henry V Gender Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line)

Quote #1

'In terram Salicam mulieres ne succedant'
(No woman shall succeed in Salic land),
Which Salic land the French unjustly gloze
To be the realm of France, and Pharamond
The founder of this law and female bar. (1.2.42-46)

Here we learn about the Salic Law in France, which says women can't inherit the throne and their sons can never inherit the throne through the female line. This is a pretty rigid way to establish the lines of succession, don't you think?

Quote #2

would have me as familiar with men’s pockets as
their gloves or their handkerchers, which makes
much against my manhood, if I should take from
another’s pocket to put into mine, for it is plain
pocketing up of wrongs. I must leave them and seek
some better service. Their villainy goes against my
weak stomach, and therefore I must cast it up. (3.3.48-55)

Here, the unnamed Boy criticizes Bardolph and Nim for stealing and declares that thievery goes "against [his] manhood," as if breaking the law makes one weak and effeminate. Throughout the Henry plays, Shakespeare has associated unruliness with effeminacy, especially in Henry IV Part 1, where women are often associated with rebellion.

Quote #3

Alice, tu as été en Angleterre, et tu parles
bien le langage.

[Alice, you've been in England and you speak the language well.]
Un peu, madame.
[A little, madame.]
Je te prie, m'enseignez. Il faut que j'apprenne
à parler.

[Please teach me. I must learn to speak it]. (3.4.1-5)

When we translate these lines into English, it becomes pretty clear that Catherine is only interested in learning English because her father plans to marry her off to an English king. This reminds us that Shakespeare never actually reveals to us Catherine's interests and desires, which suggests that they're not even relevant.

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