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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: April ::
How to Play Henry V act 1 scene 2
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0752  Thursday, 21 April 2005

[1]     From:   Michael B. Luskin <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 20 Apr 2005 11:09:02 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0742 How to Play Henry V act 1 scene 2

[2]     From:   Peter Bridgman <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 20 Apr 2005 23:30:31 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0742 How to Play Henry V act 1 scene 2


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael B. Luskin <
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Date:           Wednesday, 20 Apr 2005 11:09:02 EDT
Subject: 16.0742 How to Play Henry V act 1 scene 2
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0742 How to Play Henry V act 1 scene 2

Having just reread this play, it seems to me that the speech is cynical
and self serving, but is deadly serious.  I see nothing funny in it, and
I doubt if the speakers did either.  Nothing in the text suggests that
Shakespeare is pulling any punches.

And the tennis balls are simply vinegar in the wound, but the wound
already exists.

Michael B. Luskin

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Bridgman <
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Date:           Wednesday, 20 Apr 2005 23:30:31 +0100
Subject: 16.0742 How to Play Henry V act 1 scene 2
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0742 How to Play Henry V act 1 scene 2

Arthur Lindley writes ...

 >Henry makes his decisions first and stages them
 >second, as when he uses the tennis balls as an outrageous insult which
 >justifies the declaration of a war upon which he is already resolved.

Did WS get the tennis ball story from Holinshed?  Or was he thinking of
the following incident from 1581 ...

In 1581 the Duke of Anjou was in London waiting to hear if his marriage
to Elizabeth I (the "French match") was to go ahead.  While the Duke
waited, the English court was entirely given over to his entertainment.
  On 30 November, the day before Edmund Campion was to be executed at
Tyburn, some desperate friends of Campion's approached the Duke in the
hope of gaining his intercession.  According to Evelyn Waugh, "they
found him skipping about the tennis court".

"The little man listened to what they had to say; he looked at them
stupidly, as though he were just awakened from a deep sleep, scratched
his beard and then, turning on his heel, with the one word "Play,"
resumed the interrupted service."

Peter Bridgman

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