Study Guide

Henry V Act 5, Scene 2

By William Shakespeare

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Act 5, Scene 2

Read the full text of Henry V Act 5 Scene 2 with a side-by-side translation HERE.

  • At the French palace, King Henry meets with King Charles and Queen Isabel to negotiate a peace treaty.
  • Henry is super-polite, but he's got a list of demands. If the French know what's good for them, they'll give into each of them.
  • It turns out that Princess Catherine is at the top of Henry's list.
  • Henry has a semi-private meeting with Catherine, who's got her sidekick/personal translator with her. (That would be Alice, Catherine's lady-in-waiting.)
  • As Henry proceeds to put the moves on Catherine (while Alice translates), he pretends that she actually has a choice about whether or not she'll marry him.
  • During said romancing, Henry tries to pass himself off as a simple and humble "soldier" who's not much of a ladies' man or a smooth talker. (We, of course, know that this isn't true.)
  • Catherine refuses to play along. She points out that it's not up to her to decide if she'll marry Henry. Her father gets to make the decision for her.
  • Henry protests and Catherine finally says something like, "Okay, fine, whatever."
  • As Henry goes in for a kiss, Catherine points out that nice French girls don't make out until after they're married.
  • Henry points out that Catherine is royalty, so she can do whatever she wants.
  • Catherine's mom and dad enter the room, along with Burgundy. (We're pretty sure they've been spying on Catherine and Henry the whole time.)
  • Henry and Burgundy have a side conversation about what it will be like for Henry to go to bed with Catherine, "a maid yet rosed over with the virgin crimson of modesty."
  • King Charles announces that he has consented to all the terms of the treaty.
  • He gives Henry and Catherine his blessing and is all, "I can't wait to be a grandfather! Just think, honey, your children are going to be the next heirs to the French throne!" (According to the terms of the treaty, Charles gets to keep his crown. When he dies, though, Henry and/or his sons get to take over.)
  • Queen Isabel points out how convenient the marriage will be. Henry and Catherine can join their hearts and their kingdoms "in one." (Aww. Who knew that a peace treaty could be so romantic?)

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