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The Chorus' Prologue, Can someone please explain to me every sentence that they...

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peace-hunniiez | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 8, 2010 at 6:55 PM via web

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The Chorus' Prologue, Can someone please explain to me every sentence that they say  in Henry V?

Can someone tell me what every sentence means like:

"O for a muse of fire, that would ascend"

then the explanation underneath.

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shaketeach | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted October 22, 2010 at 6:15 AM (Answer #1)

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OK, here is what he is saying but I will summarize each sentence rather than take it line by line.

A muse is inspiration, so the Chorus is calling for fiery inspiration where he could create for the audience a kingdom complete with princes.  It would be worthy of enough for monarchs to watch.  If he could do this, we would see a warlike Henry V become the champion of Mars (the god of war).  He compares the results of war like famine, death, and destruction to the dogs of war.    He then stops and asks his audiences to pardon the actors because they aren't the real thing.  They are only pretending.

He  explains that this "cockpit" and "wooden O" cannot contain the real battle fields of France .  (He calls them a cockpit because in many of the theatres, an added entertainment was cock fighting.  He calls it  wooden O because the theatre were round.)

He then charges the audience to use their imaginations.  He first asks the audience to imagine that on stage are two mighty monarchies (England & France) and they are at war.  Since they may leave out some things that are important, the audience is told to use their own knowledge of events to fill in the gaps.  When you see one man imagine that man is a thousand men and they are fighting.  Since they can't bring the horses onto the stage, the audience is asked to imagine them when they are spoken about in the play.

He reminds the audience that they are a very important part of creating the magic of theatre.  In front of their eyes they will take the events of many years and condense it into hours.  The audiences is asked by Chorus to trust him and let him guide them through the play.

Finally, he hopes that the audience will enjoy the play.

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