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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: February ::
Henry V Question
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0418  Thursday, 12 February 2004

[1]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 11 Feb 2004 14:37:46 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0398 Henry V Question

[2]     From:   Brooke Morrill <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 11 Feb 2004 22:08:49 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0398 Henry V Question

[3]     From:   Dominica Borg <
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        Date:   Thursday, 12 Feb 2004 10:57:04 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0398 Henry V Question


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Wednesday, 11 Feb 2004 14:37:46 -0500
Subject: 15.0398 Henry V Question
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0398 Henry V Question

 >a poll of '100
 >Great Black Britons' <snip>
 >
 >>Is Lennox Lewis English?
 >
 >Yes, but he didn't make the top 10 in the above poll.

Ah, but I didn't ask if Lennox Lewis is British -- he clearly is.  I
asked if he is English.  There is a big difference.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brooke Morrill <
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Date:           Wednesday, 11 Feb 2004 22:08:49 -0500
Subject: 15.0398 Henry V Question
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0398 Henry V Question

On the issue of language in Henry V, I would like to bring up the
following point. In the forest scene (IV.i) in which Henry pretends to
be a soldier ("a friend") in order to talk with his men, he uses the
alias Le Roy, which to the reader and audience is obviously a reference
to the French word for king (le roi). I think this is an important
detail in several respects. On one hand, it might cause us to question
Henry's commitment to his "disguise." But on the other hand, and I think
is more relevant to the question of foreign language in this play; it
suggests an assumption on his part that his men will not get the joke so
to speak. Given the relationship between the two languages, it seems to
me that Henry is taking a chance with so daring an alias. He is,
however, confident that the men will not see through his not-so-clever
ruse. He correctly predicts that the men will not know enough French to
be able to translate the word, and not raise an eyebrow at the fact that
an English soldier (in the war with France) should have a French
surname. (Pistol misidentifies it as a Cornish name.) What then does
this say about the way in which language is being used in this play? Is
it being used to separate the educated King who knows some French from
the uneducated soldiers who don't get his joke?

RBMJR

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dominica Borg <
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Date:           Thursday, 12 Feb 2004 10:57:04 -0500
Subject: 15.0398 Henry V Question
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0398 Henry V Question

John of Gaunt was born in Ghent in 1340.  (Gaunt).  So he could indeed
claim the Flemings as his fellow countrymen.  His mother, Phillippa of
Hainault, was not Dutch, however, but born in Flanders, in what is now
modern Belgium.  So that makes both mother and son Belgian, I guess,
although, technically speaking, these territories were under French
control at the time.  But two of Philippa's and Edward III's children
were born in Phillippa's Flemish lands, including Lionel, John's elder
brother.

To confuse things even further, Shakespeare, of course, would have
considered the Flemings to be part of enemy territory, but for a
different reason, since at the time Henry V was written, Ghent was part
of the Spanish Netherlands, ruled by Phillip II of Spain until his death
in 1598, when it passed to regentship of his daughter, Archduchess
Isabella (and granddaughter of Queen Catherine de Medici of France.)

Dominica Borg

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