Henry V

Henry V Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
King of England. Though Henry V lived a wild, reckless youth (portrayed in Shakespeare’s Henry V “prequels” of 1 Henry IV and 2 Henry IV, he enters the play a changed man. His rise to the throne has turned Henry into a moderate, dignified, eloquent monarch who rules with equal parts strength and mercy. Though he confesses privately to the struggles of being king, he is publicly optimistic and assured, repeatedly inspiring his countrymen to military triumph and moral rectitude. He modestly attributes all personal successes to God and is considered a model king.

Henry V Quotes in Henry V

The Henry V quotes below are all either spoken by Henry V or refer to Henry V. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Kingship Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of Henry V published in 2004.
Act 1, Scene 1 Quotes

The strawberry grows underneath the nettle
And wholesome berries thrive and ripen best
Neighbored by fruit of baser quality.
And so the prince obscured his contemplation
Under the veil of wildness, which, no doubt,
Grew like the summer grass, fastest by night,
Unseen, yet crescive in his faculty.

Related Characters: Bishop of Ely (speaker), Henry V
Page Number: 1.1.63-69
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 1, Scene 2 Quotes

Therefore take heed how you impawn our person
How you awake our sleeping sword of war:
We charge you, in the name of God, take heed
For never two such kingdoms did contend
Without much fall of blood; whose guiltless drops
Are every one a woe, a sort complaint
‘Gainst him whose wrong gives edge unto the swords
That make such waste in brief mortality.
Under this conjuration, speak, my lord;
For we will hear, note and believe in heart
That what you speak is in your conscience wash’d
As pure as sin with baptism.

Related Characters: Henry V (speaker), Archbishop of Canterbury
Page Number: 1.2.24-36
Explanation and Analysis:

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Your brother kings and monarchs of the earth
Do all expect that you should rouse yourself,
As did the former lions of your blood.

Related Characters: Duke of Exeter (speaker), Henry V
Page Number: 1.2.127-129
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 2, Scene 2 Quotes

If little faults, proceeding on distemper,
Shall not be wink’d at, how shall we stretch our eye
When capital crimes, chew’d, swallow’d and digested,
Appear before us?

Related Characters: Henry V (speaker), Henry, Lord Scroop of Masham, Richard Earl of Cambridge, Sir Thomas Grey
Page Number: 2.2.55-59
Explanation and Analysis:

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Such and so finely bolted didst thou seem:
And thus thy fall hath left a kind of blot,
To mark the full-fraught man and best indued
With some suspicion. I will weep for thee;
For this revolt of thine, methinks, is like
Another fall of man. Their faults are open:
Arrest them to the answer of the law;
And God acquit them of their practices!

Related Characters: Henry V (speaker), Henry, Lord Scroop of Masham, Richard Earl of Cambridge, Sir Thomas Grey
Page Number: 2.2.144-151
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 2, Scene 4 Quotes

O peace, Prince Dauphin!
You are too much mistaken in this king:
Question your grace the late ambassadors,
With what great state he heard their embassy,
How well supplied with noble counselors,
How modest in exception, and withal
How terrible in constant resolution,
And you shall find his vanities forespent
Were but the outside of the Roman Brutus,
Covering discretion with a coat of folly.

Related Characters: The Constable of France (speaker), Henry V, Lewis the Dauphin
Page Number: 2.4.31-40
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 3, Scene 1 Quotes

For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’

Related Characters: Henry V (speaker)
Page Number: 3.1.32-37
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 3, Scene 3 Quotes

The gates of mercy shall be all shut up,
And the flesh’d soldier, rough and hard of heart,
In liberty of bloody hand shall range
With conscience wide as hell, mowing like grass
Your fresh-fair virgins and your flowering infants.

Related Characters: Henry V (speaker), Governor of Harfleur
Page Number: 3.3.10-14
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 3, Scene 6 Quotes

…and we give express charge, that in our marches through the country, there be nothing compelled from the villages, nothing taken but paid for, none of the French upbraided or abused in disdainful language; for when lenity and cruelty play for a kingdom, the gentler gamester is the soonest winner.

Related Characters: Henry V (speaker)
Page Number: 3.6.110-116
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 4, Scene 1 Quotes

I think the king is but a man, as I am.

Related Characters: Henry V (speaker), Michael Williams, John Bates, Alexander Court
Related Symbols: Accents
Page Number: 4.1.105-106
Explanation and Analysis:

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He may show what outward courage he will; but I believe, as cold a night as ‘tis, he could wish himself in Thames up to the neck.

Related Characters: John Bates (speaker), Henry V
Page Number: 4.1.117-119
Explanation and Analysis:

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Then I would [Henry V] were here alone; so should he be sure to be ransomed, and a many poor men’s lives be saved.

Related Characters: John Bates (speaker), Henry V
Page Number: 4.1.125-127
Explanation and Analysis:

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But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all ‘We died at such a place.’

Related Characters: Michael Williams (speaker), Henry V
Page Number: 4.1.138-142
Explanation and Analysis:

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The king is not bound to answer the particular endings of his soldiers, the father of his son, nor the master of his servant; for they purpose not their death, when they purpose their services.

Related Characters: Henry V (speaker)
Page Number: 4.1.160-164
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 4, Scene 3 Quotes

If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.

Related Characters: Henry V (speaker)
Page Number: 4.3.23-25
Explanation and Analysis:

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We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Related Characters: Henry V (speaker)
Page Number: 4.3.62-69
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 4, Scene 7 Quotes

Praised be God, and not our strength, for it!

Related Characters: Henry V (speaker)
Page Number: 4.7.92
Explanation and Analysis:

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All the water in Wye cannot wash your majesty’s Welsh plod out of your pody, I can tell you that: God pless it and preserve it as long as it pleases his Grace and his Majesty too.

Related Characters: Captain Fluellen (speaker), Henry V
Related Symbols: Accents
Page Number: 4.7.112-114
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 5, Scene 2 Quotes

But, before God, Kate, I cannot look greenly nor gasp out my eloquence, nor have I no cunning in protestation; only downright oaths; which I never use till urged, nor never break for urging.

Related Characters: Henry V (speaker), Katherine
Page Number: 5.2.148-152
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Your majestee ave fausse French enough to deceive de most sage demoiselle dat is en France.

Related Characters: Katherine (speaker), Henry V
Related Symbols: Accents
Page Number: 5.2.227-228
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Take her, fair son, and from her blood raise up
Issue to me; that the contending kingdoms
Of France and England, whose very shores look pale
With envy of each other’s happiness,
May cease their hatred.

Related Characters: King Charles (speaker), Henry V, Katherine
Page Number: 5.2.360-364
Explanation and Analysis:

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Henry V Character Timeline in Henry V

The timeline below shows where the character Henry V appears in Henry V. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
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Yet Canterbury and Ely reassure themselves by reflecting on Henry V ’s love for the church and newfound poise, reason, and maturity. Before the death of... (full context)
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Ely asks Canterbury about Henry V ’s attitude towards the bill, which the commons is eager to pass. Canterbury first replies... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
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Henry V enters, along with lords Humphrey, Bedford, Clarence, Warwick, Westmorland, Exeter, and attendants. Henry V asks... (full context)
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Canterbury proceeds at great and complicated length to explain that Henry V has a legitimate right to rule France. The confusion about that right is due to... (full context)
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When Henry V wonders whether the claim can be made in good conscience, Canterbury insists that even the... (full context)
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Henry V explains that waging a war on France would also require readying defenses against the inevitable... (full context)
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The French ambassadors enter. One ambassador asks Henry V whether he can deliver a message from the Dauphin (the son of the French King... (full context)
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The French ambassadors deliver the message: in response to Henry V ’s claim on several French dukedoms, the Dauphin warns Henry that “you cannot revel into... (full context)
Act 2, Prologue
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...Earl of Cambridge, and Sir Thomas Grey) to take French money in exchange for murdering Henry V before he leaves England. The Chorus asks for the audience’s patience as the play’s “abuse... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
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...brutal fevers. She runs off and Nym and Pistol reflect that, though a good king, Henry V “hath run bad humours” on Falstaff. They depart for Falstaff’s bedside. (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
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...conspiracy and the traitors’ despicably false efforts to make themselves look loyal to the king. Henry V enters with the traitors: Scroop, Cambridge and Grey. Henry is about to board a ship... (full context)
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Henry V calls on Exeter to release a man jailed yesterday for criticizing the king while drunk.... (full context)
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Henry V asks who will be in charge during his absence and, when Scroop, Cambridge and Grey... (full context)
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...arrests Scroop, Cambridge and Grey, who each pronounce regret and repentance, begging for God’s and Henry V ’s forgiveness. Henry calls on God to show them mercy. He explains that he does... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 4
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A messenger announces the arrival of Henry V ’s ambassadors. Before they enter, the Dauphin urges his father to stand up to the... (full context)
Act 3, Prologue
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The Chorus describes Henry V 's fleet's passage across the channel in lavish detail. “Work, work your thoughts, and therein... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
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Henry V , Gloucester, Exeter, and other lords and soldiers enter. Henry V gives a rousing speech... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 3
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...of Harfleur and citizens stand on the town walls with the English troops below them. Henry V enters and asks the Governor whether he will surrender, warning him that this is his... (full context)
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...France cannot raise adequate defenses at present. He will thus surrender his town to England. Henry V orders Exeter to take charge of Harfleur, fortify it against the French and treat all... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 5
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...King Charles, the Dauphin, the Duke of Bourbon, and the Constable discuss the advance of Henry V ’s forces into France. The Constable, the Dauphin and the Duke of Brittany lament the... (full context)
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...to the battlefield: “for your great seats now quit you of great shames” and capture Henry V . The Constable notes that Henry V’s troops are so sick and famished, he’ll surely... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 6
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Henry V enters with his soldiers. Fluellen reports Exeter’s victory at the bridge. When Henry asks how... (full context)
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...up with a ransom to pay France back for the damage the English have caused. Henry V asks Montjoy’s name, then relays his response: though the English troops are tired and ill,... (full context)
Act 4, Prologue
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...the morning’s danger,” their “lank-lean cheeks and war-worn coats” making them look like “ghosts.” Still, Henry V walks among his ravaged troops “with cheerful semblance and sweet majesty,” dispensing “a largess universal... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
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Henry V , Bedford, and Gloucester are in discussion at the English camp. Though he admits they’re... (full context)
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Pistol enters and, not recognizing Henry V under Erpingham’s cloak, asks who he is. Henry claims he is a Welsh gentleman soldier... (full context)
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Three common soldiers - John Bates, Alexander Court, and Michael Williams - enter and ask Henry V who he is. Henry says he is a soldier under Erpingham, who thinks the English... (full context)
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...despite the king’s appearance of courage, he no doubt wishes he were back at home. Henry V protests that the king is glad to be here. Bates wishes, then, that the king... (full context)
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Henry V is indignant, insisting the king is not responsible for a soldier’s death just as a... (full context)
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Henry V soliloquizes on the difficulties of being king: the king must bear the burden of everyone... (full context)
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Erpingham enters and calls Henry V to meet with his nobles. He exits and Henry prays, asking God to fill his... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
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...soldiers. The battle is about to begin and the English are outnumbered five to one. Henry V enters and pooh-poohs their fears. “If we are mark’d to die, we are enow to... (full context)
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Henry V goes on to deliver a rousing speech, insisting he is glad there are no more... (full context)
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Montjoy comes in to ask on behalf of the Constable if Henry V will give himself over as ransom now before his troops’ certain defeat. Henry refuses, conveying... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 6
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Henry V , Exeter, and the troops are gathered as Exeter reports York’s noble death: badly wounded,... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 7
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...slaughtered the guard boys, and set the king’s tent on fire. They are glad that Henry V ordered the French prisoners’ throats slit. Fluellen compares Henry to Alexander the Great, though Fluellen... (full context)
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Henry V enters furious, ordering no mercy be shown French soldiers. Montjoy enters and asks Henry’s permission... (full context)
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Henry V calls in Williams and asks him about the glove in his cap. Williams recounts his... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 8
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...hot dispute over the glove. Gower tries and fails to calm them down. Warwick, Gloucester, Henry V , and Exeter enter and Fluellen calls Williams a traitor and a friend of Alencon.... (full context)
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A herald enters and delivers the casualty report to Henry V . Ten thousand Frenchmen are dead - including many nobles, knights, esquires, and gentlemen –... (full context)
Act 5, Prologue
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...cannot “in their huge and proper life” be represented on stage. He recounts these events: Henry V travels to Calais and on to London where, though the populace is giddy with pride... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
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In the French palace, Henry V has arrived to negotiate a peace treaty with King Charles and Queen Isabel, bringing along... (full context)
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Henry V tries to woo Katherine and the two engage in a comical exchange in French and... (full context)
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...Burgundy return with Exeter, Bedford, Warwick, Gloucester, Clarence, and Westmoreland. The Duke of Burgundy asks Henry V about wooing Katherine and the two engage in an innuendo-laced exchange about courting tactics. King... (full context)
Epilogue
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...preceding play as the author’s “rough” and “all-unable” efforts to portray “this star of England.” Henry V , the Chorus goes on, was succeeded by his son Henry VI, who lost France... (full context)