“Henry V”, a history, or chronicle, play written in about 1599, tells the story of King Henry V of England and the events surrounding the Battle of Agincourt during the Hundred Years’ War. The play ends the series of Shakespeare’s four historical masterpieces. The beginning of the 15th century was a difficult time for England. The kingdom was torn by civil wars. The young Henry had to earn the trust of the nation and convince the court, despite his happy-go-lucky reputation (as shown in Shakespeare’s earlier plays), of his fitness to be king. In the end, Henry has his friends hanged, murders prisoners and England itself does not reap much benefit. In this play, the Chorus acts as a guide for the audience, encouraging it to stretch its imagination, as, without it, the images in the tight cage of the stage will not come alive; likewise with the words spoken by the actors.
Shakespeare devoted to Henry a great, patriotic piece of poetry, in which there are numerous legendary quotations but he also showed that, when History is crumbling all around us, there are only bad choices we can make.