The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2142 Friday, 7 November 2003
Date: Thursday, 6 Nov 2003 15:58:21 -0800 (PST)
I have been thinking about H's final speech to Mountjoy. H says "The
only ransom you shall have are these trunks." The ambiguity here is
that 'trunks' might refer to the bodies of the dead, or the baggage at
the camp. I would suggest that it is exactly this ambiguity which
causes the French cavalry to slaughter the baggage-boys. The French
cavalry may have believed that they were being promised a bribery not to
fight, and raced off the field to seize the baggage and finding no
booty, slaughtered the boys in their outrage.
Without harassment from French cavalry, H's archers would have been able
to attack French infantry without reprisal much longer. Therefore, I
wonder if the baggage-boys weren't a sacrifice-gambit by H to gain
position elsewhere on the field.
Does anyone know of any case where this scene has been staged to
emphasize the ambiguity of 'trunks' which I suggest?
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