STUDY QUESTIONS FOR KING
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- When was the play written? What significant events had
occurred in Shakespeare’s career?
- How did the emphasis in the later tertalogy differ from
that in the first tetralogy?
- How did the Tudor historians explain the arrest of Prince
Hal by the Lord Chief Justice?
- How were early Protestant historians “revisionists” about
English history before Luther?
- How did Henry V address the political issues of the
last years of Elizabeth’s reign?
- What were the chronicle dramas and when did they
- What did Shakespeare’s audience find so fascinating about
the 15th Century?
- Why did Richard II lose the throne in 1400 and who
- What factors made Henry VI such a weak king?
- Why was the War of the Roses so traumatic for English
society? What marked the end of that war?
- Who was the king who replaced Richard III and what was his
relationship to Queen Elizabeth?
- Who were the first professional historians of English
history and why were they brought to England?
- Explain what exactly the “Tudor Myth” is.
- What were two folklore elements found in the popular
accounts of Henry V?
- Who was Holinshed and why was he so important for
- What were the characteristics of Prince Hal that
- What were humor characters and where are they found
in the play?
Act I, Prologue
- What do all the Prologues in the play have in common?
- What does the “wooden O” refer to and why?
Act I, Scene 1
- What is the crisis Canterbury and Ely face? How do they
propose to meet the challenge?
- In what areas does Henry excel according to the churchmen?
- What does Canterbury mean at line 67 when he says,
“miracles are ceased”?
Act I, Scene 2
- What is the significance when a king refers to himself as
- What does Henry demand of Canterbury?
- How does Henry make the decision to go to war seem
- Why do the nobles like Exeter support the war? Why do the
- What is the danger posed by Scotland, and how does Canterbury propose to counter it? What conceit does he use to illustrate his point?
- What are four examples of Henry’s verbal violence
in discussing his plans for the invasion?
- Why is the French ambassador anxious about delivering his
message from the Dauphin? What is the significance of the “tun of
Act II, Prologue
- How do the French seek to counter the threat of the
English invasion? What serious pun does Shakespeare use to describe
Act II, Scene 1
- Where does the scene shift to? Why does this surprise the
audience? What is Shakespeare’s purpose in making this detour?
- What are the dominant characteristics of Bardolph, Nym,
Pistol and Mistress Quickly?
- What is the cause of the dispute between Pistol and Nym?
Why is Quickly so sought after as a wife?
- Find two examples of phallic humor from the scene.
- Why does Pistol object to be called “host”? Why does the
word “solus” make him mad?
- How does Bardolph break up the fight between Pistol and
- Who is Doll Tearsheet and how does she become part of the
- What do all agree is the cause of Falstaff’s illness?
- What is the basis for the eventual settlement of the
- What does Pistol hold out as the promise of making money
in the army in France?
Act II, Scene 2
- How does Henry trick the conspirators into denying
- What is significant about the sequence in which the
conspirators are arrested?
- What possible mitigation for Cambridge’s treason does
- Why does Lord Scroop get the brunt of Henry’s wrath? What
admirable qualities does he possess?
- Why is the crime seen as so dangerous for the entire
kingdom? What is Henry’s slogan for the invasion?
Act II, Scene 3
- How is the account of Falstaff’s death handled in a
serious or poignant manner? How is it handled in a comic manner? Why is
there a mixture of tones?
- How and why does Quickly try to change what Falstaff’s
final words were? Find three examples of her verbal mistakes.
- What are three pieces of the folklore of the dying process
we learn in this scene?
- Why won’t Nym kiss Quickly good-bye?
- What slogan does Pistol come up with for the invasion?
Act II, Scene 4
- What do the three French leaders think of the threat posed
by Henry? Why do they hold these opinions?
- Characterize the manner in which Exeter delivers his
message to the French King. What is Henry’s response to the Dauphin?
- Why does the French King delay in answering Henry’s
Act III, Prologue
- To what does the Chorus compare the invasion fleet?
Act III, Scene 1
- What is a “breach,” “mine” and “petard” and how do they
figure in the attempt to take Harfleur?
- What are three ways Henry appeals to his men to charge the
breach? How does he invest his war with religious significance?
Act III, Scene 2
- How does Pistol try to placate Fluellen’s anger?
- What were the objects stolen by the three thieves and what
that tell you about them as criminals?
- Who are the four captains, and what is Shakespeare’s point
in having them from different parts of the British Isles?
- What is Fluellen’s obsession? Why does he have that? What
are some of the unusual aspects of his pronunciation? List two of his
- Why does Macmorris get angry at line 124?
Act III, Scene 3
- How are the English finally able to take Harfleur?
- What aspects of verbal violence does Henry’s speech
- What is Henry’s plan after he occupies the city?
Act III, Scene 4
- Why is the French princess learning English?
- What English words embarrass Katharine and why?
Act III, Scene 5
- What is it about the English that makes these French
leaders particularly angry about their loss of Harfleur?
- Why was the point of combat in medieval battles to capture
the enemy nobles instead of killing them?
- What conceit does the French King use to compare his army
sweeping away the English?
Act III, Scene 6
- How is it possible for Fluellen to mistake Pistol for a
- Who or what does Pistol blame for Bardolph’s problem with
- How does Pistol try and save Bardolph and why does it
- According to Gower, what is the con game that people like
Pistol are playing and how do they carry it off?
- How does Henry react to the news of Bardolph’s execution?
Why does he react this way?
- Who is Montjoy? Why does Shakespeare have him deliver the
French King’s demand in prose?
- How does Henry respond to the demand for ransom?
Act III, Scene 7
- What is the dramatic purpose of this scene?
- How many times does someone in the scene wish it were
- Explain the dynamics among the Dauphin, Constable and Orleans.
- Explain how the description of the Dauphin’s horse turns
Act IV, Prologue
- What kinds of images predominate in the description of the
two camps the night before the battle? Why?
- What does Henry do the night before the battle?
Act IV, Scene 1
- How does Henry disguise himself? Why does he disguise
- What is Pistol’s reaction to the King? Why is it unusual?
- To what does Fluellen object the night before the battle?
- How many times in the first 35 lines does Henry use “good”
or “fair”? Why?
- Between lines 86 and 234 identify three examples of dramatic
- How has his experience as a prince enabled Henry to
communicate so effectively with the three soldiers?
- What two analogies does Henry use to convince the soldiers
the King is not responsible for their souls?
- Why does Williams challenge Henry to a fight? Why was
Henry wrong to accept?
- What separates Henry from the people he rules? What has
the personal cost to him been of leadership?
- What is the sin that Henry has sought to atone for? Why
does the lecture refer to him as a conflicted man?
Act IV, Scene 2
- What are the main points of contrast the French make
between themselves and the English?
Act IV, Scene 3
- What are three major elements of Henry’s appeal in the St.
Crispin Day speech?
- For whom is Henry’s response to Montjoy primarily
- According to Henry, how will the English continue to
plague the French even after they are killed?
Act IV, Scene 4
- Why were the French at a tactical disadvantage at Agincourt according to the lecture
- In historical reality why did Henry order the slaughter of
the prisoners? Why were the nobles reluctant to obey the order? Who did
most of the killing?
- Why does Shakespeare choose to begin the depiction of the
grand battle of Agincourt with this action involving Pistol?
- What is Pistol’s primary concern throughout the scene?
Give two examples of his mistaking his captive’s French.
Act IV, Scene 5
- According to the Constable and Orleans, what is the
primary reason for the French defeat?
Act IV, Scene 6
- Why in the middle of such mass killing does Shakespeare
stop the action to focus on the deaths of York and Suffolk?
- In this scene why does Henry order the killing of the
Act IV, Scene 7
- According to Gower why does Henry order the slaughter of
- What elaborate historical parallel does Fluellen seek to
establish in the middle of the battle? Why?
- Why are the French so anxious to separate the bodies of
- How does Henry emphasize his “Welsh” heritage? Why?
Act IV, Scene 8
- What taboo word signals the seriousness of Fluellen’s rage
at Williams? Why is it a taboo word?
- Explain the concept of the fellowship of the rough jest.
What psychological function does it fulfill for Henry?
- What is Shakespeare’s point in emphasizing the disparity
in the numbers killed on both sides? How does Branagh’s film change that
Act V, Prologue
- A reference to what contemporary event enables us to date
the composition of this play?
Act V, Scene 1
- What two things does Fluellen force Pistol to do which
- What three things does Pistol propose to do to make money
after he returns to England?
Act V, Scene 2
- Why are the Duke of Burgundy and Queen Isabel important in
the dynamics of the peace conference? Who’s missing from the meeting of
the powerful? Why?
- What is unusual about Henry’s attitude toward reaching
final agreement on the details of the treaty?
- How many times does Henry ask Kate if she can love him?
- How does Henry denigrate his own abilities? Why?
- According to the lecture why was Kate’s acceptance of the
marriage so important to Henry?
- Who pronounces the benediction on the marriage? What political
significance in the marriage does the speaker find?
- What happened to Henry’s vision of a united England and France?
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