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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: April ::
How to Play Henry V act 1 scene 2
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0733  Tuesday, 19 April 2005

From:           Harvey Roy Greenberg <
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Date:           Sunday, 17 Apr 2005 02:52:36 EDT
Subject:        How to Play Henry V act 1 scene 2

Still gathering material for a piece on the playing of the presentation
of the Selig law to Henry as justification for the invasion of France.

My question to the group is: would the audience, groundlings included,
know about the history Shakespeare was presenting, or was it hugger
mugger for the groundlings before the action -- deeper than the shabby
reasons for action in RAMBO films, but not attended to in a similar
vein. Or would the Selig speech draw the attention of the audience high
and low. How was this tendentious argument presented at the Globe?
Humorously? Seriously? My son also raised the issue of the relevance of
the Selig speech to contemporary Elizabethan events. Would an audience
high and low be likely to draw analogies between the often bloody
debates over succession of HENRY V's day, and the various often bloody
assertions that Elizabeth's descent was not 'true'. I do not know the
answers to any of these questions am not, as many of you know a
Shakespearean scholar  so I turn as I have before to this group for help

I welcome hard facts as well as pure speculation.

What continues to bother me as per earlier questions is that the Selig
law speech is played for laughs more often than not, when its' content
is crucial in terms of letting loose the dogs of war. Even if Henry's
mind had been made up beforehand, the reasons had to be set forth for
all to see, and to set them forth satirically seems to beggar the
seriousness of the issues involved.

Thanks again for your help.  Harvey Roy Greenberg, MD

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