Act I, Scenes 1 and 2 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Briefly explain why Chorus is used to introduce the play.

2. In Scene 1, what proposed law is worrying the Archbishop of Canterbury, and why?

3. How is Canterbury trying to prevent passage of this law?

4. What do we learn about Henry’s personality from Canterbury and Ely?

5. How does Canterbury justify Henry’s claim to the French throne?

6. How do Henry’s advisors feel about this matter?

7. Why does Henry decide to use only a quarter of his army against France?

8. Who is the Dauphin?

9. What gift does the French ambassador bring to Henry from the Dauphin? What does it imply?

10. What is Henry’s reaction to the gift?

Answers
1. Chorus is needed because certain effects, such as battles or distortions of time and place, cannot be staged. Chorus tells the audience to use their imaginations in such cases.

2. Parliament is considering a law allowing the state to seize the Church’s properties.

3. He is suggesting that Henry conquer France instead, gaining a much more valuable prize for England and causing Parliament to forget about taking Church lands.

4. We learn that Henry was a wild youth, but is now sober and competent.

5. Canterbury says that under Salic law, the Crown must pass through the male side of the family. Since Henry’s great-grandfather married a French queen, Henry is the rightful heir.

6. They favor Canterbury’s position and likewise urge war.

7. Henry needs the remainder to keep control over Scotland, a rebellious subject country.

8. The Dauphin is the Prince of France, Charles VI’s son.

9. The Dauphin sends tennis balls, implying that Henry is still a playboy and not fit to be a king.

10. He rejects the gift and vows to avenge himself through war.