Type: Male, 20-35, Classical

1 minute


Henry V Act I Scene II

HENRY: We never valued this poor seat of England;
And therefore, living hence, did give ourself
To barbarous licence; as ’tis ever common
That men are merriest when they are from home.
But tell the Dauphin I will keep my state,
Be like a king and show my sail of greatness
When I do rouse me in my throne of France:
For that I have laid by my majesty
And plodded like a man for working-days,
But I will rise there with so full a glory
That I will dazzle all the eyes of France,
Yea, strike the Dauphin blind to look on us.
And tell the pleasant prince [that now] his soul
Shall stand sore charged for the wasteful vengeance
That shall fly with them: for many a thousand widows
Shall this his mock mock out of their dear husbands;
Mock mothers from their sons, mock castles down;
And some are yet ungotten and unborn
That shall have cause to curse the Dauphin’s scorn.
But this lies all within the will of God,
To whom I do appeal; and in whose name
Tell you the Dauphin I am coming on,
To venge me as I may and to put forth
My rightful hand in a well-hallow’d cause.

CONTEXT: This is a powerful, intense, and mildly comedic monologue from Shakespeare’s Henry V. Henry V was formerly prodigal Prince Hal. Despite his wayward actions as a young man, is a no-nonsense king. He believes he has claim to the throne of France as well. When the Dauphin (heir to the throne of France) sends him an insult (a “treasure” which turns out to be tennis balls), Henry declares war. This monologue is his answer to the ambassador of France who has brought the tennis balls, declaring his intent to revenge his honor.

MOTIVES: Revenging hurt honor, declaring war, intimidating the ambassador, validating his new-found seriousness.

LANGUAGE: This is in meter, so don’t forget to stress nouns and verbs. For example, “We never valued this poor seat of England“. Make sure to pronounce Dauphin “Dof-an”

SUGGESTIONS: Find the humor.




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