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HarryingSkills of Offense in Shakespeare's Henriad$
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Harry Berger, Jr.

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823256624

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823256624.001.0001

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Harrying the Stage

Harrying the Stage

Henry V as Tetralogical Echo Chamber

(p.155) 12. Harrying the Stage

Harry Berger

Fordham University Press

This chapter opens with Harry's “I know you all” soliloquy in Henry V. It shows that the drama of his transactions with himself, with Falstaff, with his father, and with the rest of the world unfolds coherently from the second scene in 1 Henry IV through the tetralogy. It argues that because Henry V unfolds in a kind of tetralogical echo chamber, it suffers when it is performed as an independent play rather than as the last in a series. The continuity of the sequence adds richness and specificity to the protagonist's motivation. Should this continuity get bracketed out in the interest of theatrical self-sufficiency, those involved in the production and performance of Henry V would have to pretend that factors intrinsic to its motivational drama either do not exist or are relatively trivial. Respect for the play's relative self-sufficiency has to share the stage with attention to the textual affiliations that bind it to the other plays. The chapter then follows some of those affiliations back through the Henriad, beginning with the echo-chamber effect in passages from act 1, scenes 1 and 2 of Henry V.

Keywords:   Shakespeare, Harry, Henry V, soliloquy, echo chamber, tetralogy

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