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The Chorus asks the audience to use their imaginations.
In order to distract King Henry V from a bill that would take land and money away from the church, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Ely discuss a plan to support King Henry’s ambition to invade France.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Act 1: Prologue & Scene 1.
When the French Dauphin laughs and mocks Henry’s claim to the French throne, Henry commits to invading France.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Act 1: Scene 2.
The Chorus reveals a plot to kill King Henry.
Bardolph and Nym are about to duel each other over a woman when news arrives that their mutual friend Falstaff is dying. Nym and Pistol agree that Henry is to blame for Falstaff’s condition.
Henry uncovers three traitors among his men and has them executed.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Act 2: Prologue & Scenes 1 & 2.
Falstaff’s friends gather to grieve his death before they have to fight in Henry’s army.
The King of France plots his defense against the English.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Act 2: Scenes 3 & 4.
King Henry arrives in France.
In the midst of a siege, King Henry appears to rally his soldiers and delivers a powerful speech.
Nym, Bardolph, Pistol, and the Boy discuss King Henry's speech and disagree about whether they want to fight the French or go home to London. The Boy muses to himself that the others are criminals and cowards and that he needs to leave their company.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Act 3: Prologue & Scenes 1 & 2.
Because the French city of Harfleur is unable to raise enough troops to mount a meaningful defense, Henry is able to convince the city to surrender without a battle.
The French Princess Catherine begins learning English with her maid.
The outraged French noblemen discuss why the English are conquering France so swiftly. King Charles calls on everyone to raise more troops in the hopes that they can overwhelm the English.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Act 3: Scenes 3–5.
Pistol pleads to Captain Fluellen for the life of Bardolph who has been caught looting, but Fluellen and King Henry agree that Bardolph must be put to death. Henry receives a threatening message from King Charles, but returns a calm reply.
The French are ready to fight.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Act 3: Scenes 6 & 7.
The Chorus discusses the English camp.
King Henry disguises himself and spends the evening before the battle among his soldiers, questioning them about what they think regarding the king (himself) and the battle ahead.
In preparation for the battle, the French see the English army’s ragged appearance and small numbers, and look forward to an easy victory.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Act 4: Prologue & Scenes 1 & 2.
Henry gives a rousing speech before the battle. The French offer a final opportunity for surrender, but Henry declines.
Pistol takes a French soldier prisoner, with the understanding that he will be paid well by the soldier’s family if he lets the soldier live. The Boy, who helped translate the negotiation, reveals that Nym has been executed for stealing.
The French troops struggle in battle.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Act 4: Scenes 3–5.
Henry receives word that the Dukes of York and Suffolk have been killed. In a panicked moment when Henry thinks the French are rallying, he orders all the captured French soldiers to be executed.
French soldiers kill the boys who were tending the goods at the English camp. A messenger arrives for Henry telling him he has won and asking for permission for the French to collect their dead.
Henry plays a trick on a boastful soldier that he met the night before. Word arrives that the French lost many men in battle.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Act 4: Scenes 6–8.
After celebrating in England, King Henry goes back to France to make peace.
Pistol reveals that his wife has died, and that Pistol no longer has a home. He decides to become a pimp and a thief back in England.
Henry wants to marry Princess Catherine. Treaties are made that will ensure that Henry and Catherine’s sons will be heirs to the French throne.
In a brief speech, the Chorus mentions the birth of Catherine and Henry’s son, King Henry VI of England, who went on to lose France and bring England into war.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Act 5: Prologue; Scenes 1 & 2; & Epilogue.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Henry V!