The Archbishop of
Canterbury and the Bishop of Ely are anxious about a bill proposing to
confiscate ecclesiastical property. They are, however, optimistic that
King Henry will oppose it. They note that since the death of his father
young Henry is a reformed character, no longer a rakish debauchee, but
a gracious king. Canterbury has promised Henry a contribution from the
clergy if he pursues the French crown, to which he has a claim through
his great-grandmother, Isabella of France.
Wishing to establish
the justice of his claim Henry asks the Archbishop to expound the Salic
Law which prohibits succession to the French throne through the female
line. The Archbishop assures Henry that he can press his claim "with right
and conscience". Ambassadors from the Dauphin are admitted. They present
Henry with a gift of tennis balls; angered, he warns them: "I am coming
on/To venge me as I may".
Nym, Bardolph, Pistol
and Mistress Quickly meet on the street. Nym and Pistol were rivals for
Quickly's hand; Pistol having won the contest, Bardolph reconciles them.
Henry meets the Earl
of Cambridge, Lord Scroop and Sir Thomas Grey who have conspired with the
French against his life. Not knowing that their treason has been discovered,
they urge harsh measures against a man convicted of speaking against the
King. When Henry orders their arrest, however, they beg for forgiveness.
They are sentenced to death.
Pistol, Nym, Bardolph
and Mistress Quickly mourn the death of Falstaff. Quickly is sure that
the Knight made a Christian end; the others are less convinced. They bid
her farewell and set off for France.
In the French Palace
the Dauphin describes Henry as "a vain, shallow, humorous youth", but the
Constable warns against underestimating him. Exeter arrives and demands
that Charles the French King give up his throne to Henry.
Having rejected the
French King's offer of his daughter Katherine and some minor dukedoms,
Henry lays siege to Harfleur. He urges his troops "once more unto the breach,
Bardolph, Nym, Pistol
and their Boy are reluctant to join the battle, but Fluellen drives them
on. Fluellen tries, unsuccessfully, to engage the truculent Macmorris in
discussion about the disciplines of war.
to the English when the Dauphin fails to send help to the town.
is given an English lesson by her attendant Alice.
are marching towards Calais and Charles urges his men to prepare for battle.
Pistol tells the Welsh
Captain Fluellen how Bardolph is to be hanged for looting. When Fluellen
refuses to intercede for him with the Duke of Exeter, Pistol is furious.
Fluellen describes to Henry how Exeter has succeeded in defending the bridge.
Montjoy, the French Herald, enters with the demand that Henry consider
being ransomed. Henry is adamant that though his forces are weakened, he
will lead them into battle.
At Agincourt, the
Dauphin, Orleans and the Constable wait impatiently for dawn.
Henry disguises himself
as a common soldier and walks through the camp. He meets Williams who believes
the King will have to bear the sins of those killed in battle if the cause
is not a just one. Henry disagrees and he and Williams exchange gloves;
these they will wear in their hats so as to be able to recognize one another
and continue the argument at a later time. Left alone, Henry ponders
the burden of kingship. He begs God for protection in battle and expresses
shame at the way his father took the crown from Richard II.
The French are jubilantly
confident as they prepare to enter battle.
The English are anxious
about the impending battle:"`Tis a fearful odds." It is St Crispin's day
and Henry rouses the spirits of his troops by imagining the pride of the
survivors when they look back on their victory. Montjoy arrives, urging
the English to surrender, but Henry is determined: they will fight.
a French soldier but agrees to spare his life for a ransom.
The French are
distraught as they realize that their ranks are broken.
to Henry the heroic deaths of York and Suffolk.
Fluellen and Gower
discuss Henry's bravery and his Welsh origins. Montjoy asks permission
for the French to retrieve and bury their dead. He concedes that the English
have won the day. Having come across Williams who still has the King's
glove, Henry gives Williams' glove to Fluellen, telling him that whoever
challenges it is his enemy. Williams accosts Fluellen and strikes him.
The King pardons Williams. A Herald arrives with news that there are many
French dead; the English, however, have lost few men.
After his victory
Henry offers a peace treaty to the French. Fluellen strikes Pistol for
deriding Wales. Pistol has learned that his wife is dead; he will return
In the presence of
both kings, the Duke of Burgundy speaks of the blessings of peace. Henry
woos the French King's daughter. Charles agrees to the English terms for
peace and gives Katherine to Henry, making him heir to
the French throne.