Oh for a muse of fire that would reach the uppermost heights of creativity – the stage a kingdom: actors, princes: and monarchs to watch the awe-inspiring spectacle! Then the warlike Harry, just being himself, would assume the role of Mars, the god of war, and at his heels, leashed in like hounds, famine, bloodshed and fire would crouch, waiting to be let loose. But, ladies and gentlemen, forgive the flat uninspiring actors who dare to represent such a great matter on this wretched stage. Can this small theatre accommodate the vast French countryside? Or can we cram all the fighting men who so terrified Agincourt into this small round O? Oh sorry! But since one figure can represent a million on the stage, allow us – insignificant in this great affair – to get to work on your imaginations. Imagine that within the perimeter of these walls two mighty kingdoms whose cliff-lined coasts, separated by a narrow, dangerous sea, are enclosed. Let your imagination compensate for our inadequacies. Imagine that each man is multiplied by a thousand and create an army for yourself. Imagine, when we talk of horses, that you see them stamping their proud hoof-prints in the soft earth, because it’s your imagination that must enrobe our kings. Move them around, jumping over periods of time, turning the events of several years into the span of a single hour. To help you in that let me be the Chorus to this story. As the Chorus, I humbly beg you to listen courteously to our play and judge it kindly.
Read more scenes from Henry V: