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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: May ::
Canterbury's Speech otra vez
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0924  Tuesday, 17 May 2005

From:           HR Greenberg <
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Date:           Monday, 9 May 2005 12:44:01 EDT
Subject:        Canterbury's Speech otra vez

In endless preparation for essay about the Salique law speech, Henry 5,
act I, scene 2:

Reading Holinshed, and am struck by the fact that, in quotations, the
Archbishop says virtually the same words that Shakespeare poetizes.
Several questions:

Although Holinshed puts quotes around the speech, is this the real deal.
I recall reading that there were transcriptions of what was actually
said on April 30 1414 at the Parliament in Leicester, but cannot find
these. So, was Holinshed quoting, or embellishing.

Another intriguing fact -- at least to me -- is that it would appear
that the King's advisors, nobles all, made longish speeches back or
opposing Canterbury's position. These are not given as much space in
Holinshed, only suggested.

Shakespeare likewise doesn't have these men speak as long as Canterbury
-- who could -- but I wonder if   besides using Holinshed and having the
Archbishop speak so long and at great length  S emphasizes that it is
this key speech which lets loose the dogs of war.

I have heard that Holinshed himself was known to dilate speeches of old
and put lengthy words in the mouths of speakers who spoke less. Any
truth in that.

Question of reception also arises: think I can surmise -- with help from
people here -- what Elizabethans might have felt listening to
Canterbury's exposition, but I wonder if we could surmise anything at
all about 1414 April 30. I get a sense from Holinshed that Canterbury's
speech was no laughing matter, as well as the words of other speakers then.

Thanks.

HR Greenberg MD endit

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