Stephen Foley

Jul 10, 2023

Shakespeare's "Henry V" Part 2: Characters and Questions

A Discussion with Stephen Foley

New Books Network 2023

Part 2 opens with a discussion of the history play genre and of how history shapes and constrains the plays’ protagonists. With Professor Stephen Foley, we then explore the complex character of Henry himself, asking why this figure has given rise to so many conflicting interpretations and how Henry’s unique political role should influence the way we judge him. Finally, we trace the arc of the play, from its moral crisis in battle to its sudden shift to romantic comedy, to ask what redemption can be found after the tragic suffering of war.

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