The Historical Accuracy of Henry V by William Shakespeare

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The Historical Accuracy of Henry V

Henry V, written by William Shakespeare, is by far one of his more historically accurate plays. This play is the life of young King Henry V, who ascended to the throne after his father, Henry IV's death. These times were much different for England, as Henry V was a noble lord whom everyone loved, whereas angry factions haunted his father's reign. Shakespeare portrays a fairly accurate account of the historical Henry V, but certain parts are either inflated"deflated, or conflated to dramatize Henry V as a character suitable for a Renaissance audience.

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What's he that wishes so? My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin. 1f we are marked to die, we are enow to do our country loss; and if to live, the fewer men, the greater share of honor. God's will! I pray thee wish not one man more. By Jove, I am not covetous for gold, nor care I who doth feed upon my cost; it earns me not if men my garments wear; such outward things dwell not in my desires: but if it be a sin to covet honor, I am the most offending soul alive. No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England. God's peace! I would not lose so great an honor as one man more methinks would share from me for the best hope I have. 0, do not wish one more! Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host, that he which hath no stomach to this fight, let him depart; his passport shall be made, and crowns for convoy put into his purse; we would not die in that man's company that fears his fellowship to die with us. This day is called the Feast of Crispian: he that outlives this day, and comes ...

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... version of Henry's court and Henry's camp, the dramatic effect constituted, in its way, a reasonably accurate depiction of Henry's achievement in England." (Pilkington 1-2) I believe that Shakespeare's Henry V contains more charm and less fanaticism than the true Henry V. Shakespeare has created a fairly accurate depiction of life in this time period, altering only what he saw fit for his own lifetime.


Hazlitt, William. "Characters of Shakespear's Plays." Henry U. Ed. John Russell Brown. New York: Penguin Books USA, 1988.

Henry V Page. Ace G. Pilkington. Dixie College. 1997

Henry V Page. O. Thompson. Virginia Tech. 1996

Shakespeare, William. Henry V. New York: Penguin Books USA, 1988.
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