Henry V Act III, Scene 7 Summary and Analysis
by William Shakespeare

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Act III, Scene 7 Summary and Analysis

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Lord Rambures: a French noble and military commander

Duke of Orleans: a French noble and military commander

The final scene of this act shifts the focus once again to the French military leaders—the Constable, the Dauphin, Lord Rambures, and others—who are camped opposite Henry at Agincourt and evidently prepared for battle. They spend much of the scene in light-hearted banter. The Dauphin speaks about his own steed, which “bounds from the earth,” a Pegasus which “trots the air,” and so forth. Orleans tries to cut him short, first remarking that the horse is “the color of nutmeg,” and then pleading, “No more, cousin.” The other officers join in with punning, bawdy remarks that mock the prince and his “brags.” After the Dauphin exits, the Constable sarcastically ridicules his fighting ability.

When the messenger brings news that the English army has encamped “within fifteen hundred paces,” the subject turns to Henry. “What a wretched and peevish fellow is this King of England to mope with his fat-brained followers so far out of his knowledge,” observes Orleans. The Constable replies that if the English had any sense, “they would run away.” To general agreement, Orleans ends the scene and the act with the following supremely confident prediction:

It is now two o’clock. But, let me see, by ten
We shall have each a hundred Englishmen.

Shakespeare uses this scene to reinforce our impressions of the French before shifting the focus again to the English for most of the climactic Act IV. Once again, we see the vain, egotistical Dauphin swept up in his own importance and indulging in giddy fantasies. And again, we see disunity amongst the officers, as the others register scorn for him—king’s son or not. But despite their towering overconfidence, a note of disunity is sounded when Lord Rambures, symbolically referring to English mastiffs, cautions, “That island of England breeds very valiant creatures.” Naturally his warning is ignored.

Certainly, the Frenchmen have grounds for...

(The entire section is 511 words.)