Henry V | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Henry V | Act 4, Prologue | Summary



The chorus asks the audience to imagine that it becomes night and the armies are preparing for battle. The French are overconfident and are spending their time gambling, as the English are sitting and contemplating the coming morning with apprehension. The chorus describes Henry V walking around the English camp and showing no sign of worry, which heartens his men. The chorus concludes by directing attention to the battle, which he says they will probably disgrace with their inadequacy, but he also invites the audience to see beyond their portrayal.


The chorus is again apologetic about the low production values of the play, explaining that the play will be a disgrace and not really appear "true." Yet he asks the audience to see the "true things" despite the poor attempt, echoing sentiments found in each of the chorus's prologues throughout the play. The imagery he uses to describes the scene leans heavily on imagery of dark and light, describing the night as "poring dark" and describing the way the pale flames from campfires illuminate the soldiers' faces. In contrast Henry V is "like the sun" as he goes about cheerfully among his men.

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