King Henry V Summary Act IV

Henry admitting his position is weak due to the tired men calls for a meeting with his brothers and officers. He ventures out among the men in disguise to find out their opinion. Henry learns that the men have full faith in him to whom they have even entrusted their souls. Henry breaks into a soliloquy of how the pomp and luxury of a king was just a disguise for a world of responsibility that enshrouds him instead. He prays that he doesn’t end up paying for his Father’s sins and hopes his soldiers will summon enough courage to ensure a victory in the face of overwhelming odds.

The morning of the battle the French in high spirits because of their vast numbers make fun of the English army among themselves. They ridicule Henrys half starved army which suggests that they have greatly underestimated henrys prowess in battle.

The English conclude that despite being outnumbered 1 to 5 they will have to make a stand against the French. The noble men among Henrys army exchange wishes with each other. Henry overhears Westmoreland wishing they had more troops to which Henry replies that he does not wish so because should they succeed there would be a greater share of honor among the few men in his army. He willingly explains that he does not wish to force any man to fight and all who do not have strength for the battle are free to leave with permission and pay.

Henry then delivers his Famous St Crispin’s day battle speech where he rouses the men calling them his band of brothers.

“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

For he today that sheds his blood with me

Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,

This day shall gentle his condition” (act IV Sc iii 18-67)

Henry’s motivating speech spurs on the English to a resounding victory resulting in the French losing ten thousand men in comparison to twenty five of the English. Henry finds out that the castle in the vicinity is named Agincourt and hence names the event the battle of Agincourt.

Henry plans to go the nearby church to give thanks for his victory and then return home to England via Calais.

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