Here is a short plot summary of Henry V:

Henry V’s father Bolingbroke (Henry IV) was never able to rule comfortably because he had usurped Richard II. On his succession King Henry V is determined to prove his right to rule, including over France. An ambassador arrives from the French Dauphin with a provocative gift of tennis balls. Henry responds by preparing to invade France. Three of the king’s friends, Scroop, Cambridge and Grey, are discovered to be plotting against him and he condemns them to death. Pistol, Nym, and Bardolph, the companions of Henry’s dissolute days in London, join the king’s forces and set off for the wars. The news comes of Sir John Falstaff’s death.

The English take the town of Harfleur and the king moves on towards Calais. The two armies prepare for battle near Agincourt. The night before the battle the king visits his troops in disguise. The French numbers are superior but Henry inspires his troops with a powerful patriotic speech. The battle begins and the French are defeated, with heavy losses, whereas the English losses are light. Henry returns to London in triumph before making peace with the French king. Henry woos the French Princess Katherine and their marriage links England and France.

 

See Henry V translated to modern English >>

See summaries of Shakespeare’s other plays >>

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