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Literature Study GuidesHenry VAct 4 Scene 3 Summary

Henry V | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Henry V | Act 4, Scene 3 | Summary



Back in the English camp the nobles are worried that the French army is much larger than the English army. Henry V enters, and Westmoreland says he wishes that they had just 10,000 more of the men back in England. In reply Henry launches into his famous St. Crispin's Day speech, telling the men they should not wish for any more soldiers to join them, because if there were more soldiers, then they would have to share the honor of battle with more people. If Westmoreland does not want to be there, Henry does not want to fight beside him and would rather send him home. Salisbury tells them they must get to the battle quickly; the French are ready. Westmoreland has changed his mind and is ready to join Henry wholeheartedly in battle.

Montjoy enters again and asks once more if Henry will be ransomed and have his followers repent. Harry replies that his soldiers are honorable and full of valor, and furthermore, they will not yield. He tells Montjoy to stop asking about ransom, and Montjoy says Henry will not see him again. Henry does not believe him and says as much after Montjoy leaves. They go to the battle.


This scene and the previous one take place in the same time frame, showing the final moments before battle in each camp. The anxiety of the English army shown in this scene is in contrast to the overconfidence and boasting of the French in Scene 2. Despite the fact that they are outnumbered by the French, however, Henry is able to move the English soldiers to bravery in battle with his eloquent speech. The power of language to inspire takes front and center as Henry describes the pride they will feel years later, at the mention of St. Crispin's Day. He tells them that their deeds today will knit them into a "band of brothers" as they pursue honor in battle: "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;/For he today that sheds his blood with me/Shall be my brother." These powerful images and words reassure the men and they go into the battle ready to fight, and die if necessary.

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