Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on William Shakespeare's Henry V. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
- Full Title: The Life of Henry V
- When Written: 1599
- Where Written: London, England
- When Published: 1600
- Literary Period: Elizabethan
- Genre: History
- Setting: England and France, 1415
- Climax: Henry V’s St. Crispin’s Day speech before the Battle of Agincourt.
- Antagonist: Lewis the Dauphin
The Wooden O. Though it’s impossible to know for sure, it has long been believed that Henry V was the first play to be performed in London’s Globe Theater – the “wooden O” of the play’s prologue – whose construction was completed in 1599. Shakespeare may even have written Henry V specifically as a showpiece for the new theater – a fact which would cast an especially ironic light on all the Chorus’ apologies for the stage’s inadequacy.
Back to Life. Sir John Falstaff dies at the start of Henry V but Shakespeare brings him back to life in The Merry Wives of Windsor, published three years later (though possibly performed earlier). This resurrection supposedly occurred at the behest of Queen Elizabeth herself, who adored the character of Falstaff and demanded a play that portrayed him in love.