Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from May, 2014

We (Can't) Defy Augury: Alexander (the Pig?) vs. Henry V

"Ay, he was porn at Monmouth, Captain Gower. What
call you the town's name where Alexander the Pig was born!" Thus started the playful comparison between Henry V and Alex the Great. It was funny the first time I read it. It was, really. The Welsh Captain kept saying the word wrong, the comparison couldn't be more absurd, especially the way he tried to find similarity between Monmouth and Macedon.

The second time I read it, I wanted to cry.

I am the one to blame for my sheer ignorance of English history. Reading Henry V, I was full of expectation that the king would live long and prosper, he would be the best Shakespearean character ever, and would stay high, live eternally, and be a living literary legend like Sherlock Holmes, for instance. I had no idea that the king would die. I mean, I know he would, but not that fast. As soon as I knew that he died shortly after Agincourt, Alexander was no longer a joke.

Fluellen might be happy that his king was as young as Alex…

Henry V: Self-Punishment on the Death of Bardolph

Prince Hal, and later, the king, Henry V is a complex character with volumes to think, say, and analyse about. Following his character development from Henry IV part 1 through Henry V, it's hard not to relate to him when one comes to what people call 'conflict of interests.'

For me, the worst part of it in Henry V is when he heard that his (former) friend, Bardolph, had been executed for thievery. In many productions, the directors let Henry either see the execution, or at least the hanged man. Kenneth Branagh and Hollow Crown versions even take time for a little flashback, therefore show us that the king remembered Bardolph and all things they had done together in their former days. Both also, through acting, show that the king was sad about it, yet could do nothing.

Reading the play, however, it was quite shocking that the king made no comment upon the hanging, except that it was just and necessary.

Why didn't he say anything about it? Knowing Shakespeare, he could h…