Lectures on Shakespeare

by W. H. Auden
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Create a dialogue between the spirit of Auden and Henry V.

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A dialogue between the spirits of W. H. Auden and King Henry V might center on Henry V’s religion and his reasons for attacking France. InLectures on Shakespeare , Auden says Henry V’s grounds for invading France are “flimsy.” Henry V could counter that his attack against France was...

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A dialogue between the spirits of W. H. Auden and King Henry V might center on Henry V’s religion and his reasons for attacking France. In Lectures on Shakespeare, Auden says Henry V’s grounds for invading France are “flimsy.” Henry V could counter that his attack against France was blessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Ely. He might say the war was the idea of two top religious leaders, and a war condoned by godly men is not “flimsy.”

After listening to Henry V, Auden could reply that Canterbury and Ely only prodded him to go to war so that they could keep their land. He then might take issue with Henry V’s sense of religion. In his lecture, Auden calls Henry V a scoundrel. He claims that Henry V “doesn’t know God in a personal way.” As Henry V praises God throughout the play, he could be offended by Auden’s words. Henry V might remind Auden that “God fought for us,” which is why he was able to lead his army to victory.

Another topic the two spirits could discuss is Henry V’s courtship of Katharine. Auden calls the interaction the “most brutal scene in Shakespeare.” Henry V might ask Auden how his romancing of Katharine is more “brutal” than the bloody war.

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