Study Guide

Henry V Act 2, Scene 4

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Act 2, Scene 4

Read the full text of Henry V Act 2 Scene 4 with a side-by-side translation HERE.

  • In France (where the rest of the play takes place), King Charles and his son the Dauphin talk about how the English troops are about 2 seconds from knocking on France's front door.
  • King Charles wants to make plans to defend his kingdom, but his son tells him to chill out and stop being a scaredy cat because England's king is nothing more than a "vain, giddy, shallow, humorous youth."
  • Charles isn't so sure. He reminds everyone of the time that Henry's great-grandfather (Edward III) and his great uncle (Edward the Black Prince) stormed France and made the French army look like a bunch of chumps. If Henry V is anything like his ancestors, France is in serious trouble.
  • A Messenger brings word that King Henry's Ambassadors are close by and want a meeting with the French king.
  • The Duke of Exeter enters with a message from the English monarch. Basically, King Henry says he wants King Charles to step aside peacefully while he helps himself to the French throne, which he's legally entitled to.
  • King Charles asks "Or else what?"
  • Exeter says something like "Henry is totally going to invade France like a 'fierce tempest' of 'thunder.' The earth will quake and war will open its jaws and swallow everyone whole."
  • Then Exeter sweetly adds that King Henry also wanted him to say "hi" to the Dauphin and thank him for the chest of tennis balls.
  • King Charles says he'll think about it.
  • His son, the Dauphin, doesn't need to think about anything. He dares Henry to bring it.

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