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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: April ::
New Henry V Film Coming Out Soon
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0930  Thursday, 22 April 2004

From:           Thomas Pendleton <
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Date:           Wednesday, 21 Apr 2004 14:52:34 -0400
Subject: 15.0922 New Henry V Film Coming Out Soon
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0922 New Henry V Film Coming Out Soon

In other venues, I would be quite willing to talk about the war in Iraq,
but here I think it might be appropriate to comment on what the text of
Shakespeare's Henry V does in fact say.

It is of course true that Williams has a long and resonant speech on the
responsibility of the King "if the cause be not good" (4.1.134-46).  But
it continually seems to be ignored that Henry answers this speech with a
far longer speech (147-85), which can, admittedly, be criticized as
dealing in false analogies and in the confusion of first causes (God's
providence) and efficient causes (the King's quarrel).  However, the
response to Henry's analysis is "'Tis certain, every man that dies ill,
the ill upon his own head, the King is not to answer it" (186-87), and
the lines are spoken by Williams, who broached the problem and who then
proceeds to quarrel over the King's assurance he will not be ransomed.
It looks to me that however unsatisfactory a reader might find Henry's
chop-logic, Shakespeare intended it to be accepted as valid.

Tom Pendleton

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