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Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Henry at Agincourt

This week we've been reading about the Hundred Years War, Joan of Arc, King Edward III, King Henry V and Lady Katherine, and Pope Boniface VIII.

I've been looking forward to the day I could introduce my kids, boys especially, to the Agincourt speech that Shakespeare put in the mouth of Henry V. I'm sure my reading on Tuesday didn't do it justice, but last night they saw Laurence Olivier rally his troops with the speech and it was impressive.



Our history reading prepared the kids to be able to follow fairly well the story of Henry V, even with Shakespeare's wonderful, but challenging, English. It was only because we had read, for instance, about Henry's claim to the French throne and the Salic law of France that they were able to keep up with the exposition in the first act. Thanks to our history reading, they knew exactly what it meant to the outcome of the battle that the French knights had to be hoisted onto their horses with ropes because of the weight of their armor. When French horses galloped onto the battlefield, pounding their hooves into wet earth, they knew how this handed another advantage to the outnumbered English. As the English archers let their arrows fly, they knew that this represented a strategic warfare advance for which the French were unprepared.

The Olivier version of the play because the movie begins showing a production of Henry the Fifth in the Globe theater of 1600, but as the play progresses the viewer is drawn in, until finally the action of Agincourt is no longer on the stage but in the field. The movie concludes for the final curtain back on the stage of the Globe. It is a nice touch, particularly for students.

(There is also the Henry V film with Kenneth Branaugh in the title role, which is also very good, but we'll save it for later. )

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