What is the conflict that drives the action and provides tension in Henry V?

Expert Answers
pnhancock eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In William Shakespeare's Henry V, the main conflict driving the characters is an invasion during the Hundred Years' War, a series of battles in which England attempted to conquer French land. At the beginning of the play, King Henry V decides to launch another invasion of France on the advice of the English nobility. The odds are against Henry's troops; the English army is so much smaller and relatively lacking in technology that the French royals don't even consider the invasion a threat at first. Henry's men struggle to take the town of Harfleur, and many of them fall ill due to the struggle of battle. The French army then sends 60,000 troops to fight against Henry's weakened 12,000. After a brutal day of battle, Henry receives news that his men managed to kill 10,000 French troops- a decisive victory for England. The play ends with Henry courting Katharine, the princess of France, in the hopes of uniting the two countries under a single crown. The conflict is resolved as Katharine's father, King Charles VI, gives Henry his blessing to marry Katharine and signs a peace treaty between the two nations.