Literature Study GuidesHenry VAct 4 Scene 2 Summary

Henry V | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Henry V | Act 4, Scene 2 | Summary

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Summary

In the French camp the Dauphin, the Duke of Orléans, and Rambures are up and excited, ready for battle. The Constable joins them. The Dauphin says they should cut their horse's sides so the blood will fall in the faces of the English, but Rambures points out that if the blood got in the English soldiers' faces, the French would not be able to see their tears. The Constable describes how thoroughly they are going to defeat the English. Grandpré enters, asks them why they are taking so long, and then tells them that the English look awful and are going to be easy pickings, likening them to carrion, or the flesh of dead animals. The French make fun of the English a bit more, then go to the battle.

Analysis

As before, the French continue to boast about themselves and insult the English soldiers. Their arrogant attitude and the petty joy they take in the weakness of the English army show the French leaders in an unflattering and ignoble light. But this is the last scene before the Battle of Agincourt, and the French have reason to be confident: their forces outnumber the English army by a comfortable margin, and the English soldiers are tired and dispirited. This scene is a contrast to the next, in which the audience gets a glimpse of the English camp just before the battle.

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