Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge
In the Reduced Shakespeare Company's "Tweeting Shakespeare" project, Henry V is summarized as follows: "A king's gotta do what a king's gotta do" (source).
In a May 2011 Vanity Fair article, Shakespeare scholar Harold Bloom said the following about Henry's rejection of Falstaff: "It's heartbreaking. But there's nothing noble about Hal. Hazlitt said we like him in the play, but he's an amiable monster. The 'amiable' is the modifier. He's a monster through and through. He butchers prisoners, betrays everybody, and seizes the main chance. He's his father's son. He stops being Falstaff's son when he doesn't find it useful anymore" (source). Ouch.
In 1942, Laurence Olivier's dramatic reading of the St. Crispin's Day speech was broadcast over the radio. According to literary critic Marjorie Garber, the speech "became a patriotic call to arms for embattled Britain during World War II" (source: Shakespeare After All ).
Ever watch HBO's World War II miniseries Band of Brothers? It's based on a book by historian Stephen E. Ambrose, who named his work after Henry V's famous St. Crispin's Day speech to his troops: "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; / For he today that sheds his blood with me / Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, / This day shall gentle his condition" (4.62-65).
Henry V's St. Crispin's Day speech has been featured in films like Tombstone (1993) and Renaissance Man (1994). Psst. Check out the clip from Renaissance Man here.