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Henry V

Henry V

Society and Class Quotes

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Quote #7

MONTJOY
No, great king:
I come to thee for charitable licence,
That we may wander o'er this bloody field
To look our dead, and then to bury them;
To sort our nobles from our common men.
For many of our princes--woe the while!--
Lie drown'd and soak'd in mercenary blood;
So do our vulgar drench their peasant limbs
In blood of princes; and their wounded steeds
Fret fetlock deep in gore and with wild rage
Yerk out their armed heels at their dead masters,
Killing them twice. O, give us leave, great king,
To view the field in safety and dispose
Of their dead bodies! (4.7.1)

Here, we learn that it's really important to the French that they be able to sift the battlefield in order to separate their dead. (Since they don't want any dead commoners soaking up the blood of dead noblemen.) The language of this passage is both graphic and disturbing, and it reminds us that rank and nobility are important markers of identity.

Quote #8

Where is the number of our English dead?
Herald shews him another paper
Edward the Duke of York, the Earl of Suffolk,
Sir Richard Ketly, Davy Gam, esquire:
None else of name; and of all other men
But five and twenty. O God, thy arm was here;
And not to us, but to thy arm alone,
Ascribe we all! When, without stratagem,
But in plain shock and even play of battle,
Was ever known so great and little loss
On one part and on the other? Take it, God,
For it is none but thine! (4.7.8)

When the English count up the numbers of their casualties, we notice how careful they are to distinguish the deaths of commoners (whose names aren't even read aloud) from the deaths of noblemen ("men of name"). What's up with that? We thought they were all supposed to be a noble "band of brothers"?

Quote #9

KING HARRY
Here, uncle Exeter, fill this glove with crowns,
And give it to this fellow. Keep it, fellow;
And wear it for an honour in thy cap
Till I do challenge it. Give him the crowns:
And, captain, you must needs be friends with him.
FLUELLEN
By this day and this light, the fellow has mettle
enough in his belly. Hold, there is twelve pence
for you; and I pray you to serve Got, and keep you
out of prawls, and prabbles' and quarrels, and
dissensions, and, I warrant you, it is the better for you.
WILLIAMS
I will none of your money. (4.8.5)

After playing a humiliating joke on a commoner named Williams, King Henry fills his glove with some money and gives it to him as peace offering, which Williams seems to accept. Still, when Fluellen tries to throw some more coins at the problem, Williams is insulted and refuses to accept Captain Fluellen's money. If Henry wasn't a king, would Williams' have taken his money?

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