Henry V


William Shakespeare

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Henry V: Act 3, Prologue Summary & Analysis

Read our modern English translation of this scene.
The Chorus describes Henry V's fleet's passage across the channel in lavish detail. “Work, work your thoughts, and therein see a siege,” the Chorus commands. The French ambassador, he recounts, has delivered a message to Henry at Harfleur: King Charles offers Henry his daughter Katherine and a few scant, useless dukedoms as dowry. Refusing King Charles’ offer, Henry has launched an attack. Cannons fire. The Chorus departs, asking the audience to “be kind” and supplement “our performance with your mind.”
The Chorus once again asks the audience to pardon the play. Entreating audience members to “work your thoughts” and supplement “with your mind” in order to see fuller action presents the theater as a partnership rather than a one-way performance: the actors and the audience’s imaginations work together to build an appearance of events on stage.
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