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Sigurd Volsung
Friday, January 20th, 2006, 07:02 PM
I have read many of William Shakespeare's works over the years, and still passionately believe that the play of Henry V is one of his greatest historical works.

Personally, I believe that after hearing Shakespeare's famous speeches in Henry V, very few English people are able to leave without feeling a patriotic lump in their throat. Shakespeare's works still inspire many today, and it inspired me, as I am posting this thread, of course. ;)

Nevertheless, being unfortunate enough not to see a production of the play, I will link others to a scene from a one of the most recent Henry V movies, which stars the actor Kenneth Branagh:

http://www.chrishenchy.net/video/StCrispian.mpg

After listening to this speech - working out the meaning to what Henry says - this oration is bound to tingle the spines of many an Englishman.


Hail to England - our most sacred land!

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a259/switchblade88/engflagsea.gif

Ęthelweard
Sunday, January 22nd, 2006, 06:26 PM
A fantastic film which inspires a great deal of nationalistic feeling and always makes me even more proud to be English. Thanks for the link.

:thumbup

Oswiu
Sunday, January 22nd, 2006, 08:02 PM
Aye, but it's always been a source of disappointment to me that Shakespeare used stories from Ancient British, Italian, Danish, Scotch, Classical, Mediaeval and recent history, around which to build his dramas, but effectively ignored what I believe to be the most formative and fascinating part of our own people's history - that of preConquest Anglo Saxon England. Quite a shocking omission from a man who found time to write about Cunobelinus, never mind the more fantastical tales like the Tempest. Why did he never write 'Alfred' or 'Offa'? 'Hengest and Horsa' indeed! There were plenty of chronicles around [he used them for Macbeth], with plenty of human interest in them. Very odd. :|

Sigurd Volsung
Sunday, January 22nd, 2006, 08:16 PM
Aye, but it's always been a source of disappointment to me that Shakespeare used stories from Ancient British, Italian, Danish, Scotch, Classical, Mediaeval and recent history, around which to build his dramas, but effectively ignored what I believe to be the most formative and fascinating part of our own people's history - that of preConquest Anglo Saxon England. Quite a shocking omission from a man who found time to write about Cunobelinus, never mind the more fantastical tales like the Tempest. Why did he never write 'Alfred' or 'Offa'? 'Hengest and Horsa' indeed! There were plenty of chronicles around [he used them for Macbeth], with plenty of human interest in them. Very odd. :|

Well, I suppose Shakespeare didn't write a play about the pre-Conquest of 1066 because at the time of the Anglo-Saxons - and I may be wrong - England was predominantly non-Christian for several hundred years into the Anglo-Saxon reign.

Additionally, playwrights at the time had to think very carefully about the productions they wrote incase they offended the viewing public - there have even been stories of playwrights being kicked out of their trade, and even killed.

What is more, from what I gather, any play that celebrated non-Protestant ideals would have been frowned upon by the Elizabethan society, who would have condemned a play about Anglo-Saxons and the Pagan way of life.

I suppose Shakespeare didn't want to take the gamble. Or maybe he just wasn't fascinated with that particular era of history - who knows? ;)

Glynd Eastŵd
Sunday, January 22nd, 2006, 08:59 PM
I suppose Shakespeare didn't want to take the gamble. Or maybe he just wasn't fascinated with that particular era of history - who knows? ;)
This is perhaps the reason I prefer Marlowe's work to Shakespeare's. He actively challenged the religous strictures the 15th century Church had imposed on the playwright's creativity, whereas Shakespeare did not. He took up the gamble, or so to speak.

You only have to notice the sometimes obvious allusions to atheism in plays such as Dr. Faustus to understand this. We see the Wittenburg scholar consciously indulge in as many sins as he can possibly fit into 24 years, including servicing a succubus and calling upon devils to rip apart an old man (who does nothing but offer Faustus heartfelt advice on redemption!). Marlowe used his work as a forum for many of his deeply subversive ideas.

He also managed to write a whole array of brilliant plays, and at such a young age. Tamburlaine, The Jew of Malta, Edward the II, and so on. All of these were written before Marlowe's 30th birthday. Most of Shakespeare's best plays, comparatively, came at a much later age.

I'll concede that Shakespeare broke with tradition to some extent, but accomplished nothing like Marlowe did, even if he was eventually stabbed in the eye for his misconduct. ;)

Sigurd Volsung
Sunday, January 22nd, 2006, 09:51 PM
Christopher was, indeed, a fantastic playwright, and it is a shame that he died so young. Having read Doctor Faustus at college, I have come to realise the sheer magnitude of Marlowe's works was astounding. It has been rumoured that Marlowe was a spy and an atheist for that matter - after reading Doctor Faustus I can see why.

Even though what I have said is a little bit off topic Marlowe was a magnificent writer, even on - or exceeding - the scale of Shakespeare; he could have been so much more before his untimely death.

Recommended readings of Marlowe:

- Doctor Faustus - about an eminent scholar who turns to magic and makes a deal with the devil.

- Tamberlaine - about a man who defeats the Emperor of Persia; anti-Muslim play.

:)

Oswiu
Sunday, January 22nd, 2006, 11:28 PM
I don't know much about Marlowe - thanks for the 'homework' Nausea!

That Pagan worry doesn't hold much water. Between 500 and 1066 the majority of the time saw England a Christian country. THere were still very many surviving dedications of villages and churches to Old English Saints. The Tudors' coming to the throne probably had a lot to do with the British themed plays like Lear and Cymbeline, but the Pagan aspect wasn't of any concern there. I just suppose this period wasn't very high profile in contemporary ideology and Shakespeare found other more pressing things to deal with. Shame... At least the three Wyrds found some role, even if a little distorted.

Stewart
Saturday, March 11th, 2006, 02:39 PM
The Laurence Olivier version from the 1940s is by far the best, and the worst is the recent version ,which is so totally unbelievable.