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War and Remembrance: St.Crispin's Day speech from Henry V

Teachers' Rating:
  7 ratings

John Byam Lister Shaw. God for Harry. Pen and ink drawing, ca.1900.

November 2008
Robert Hankes teaches English at Big Spring High School in Newville, Pennsylvania

Plays/Scenes Covered
 Henry V, 4.3
What's On for Today and Why

The subject of war always gives rise to interesting and heated discussions, whether we’re about to begin Act 4 of King Henry V , begin the play, or study current events.   Watching and analyzing this video will help students better interpret and explore how  language and images powerfully convey thoughts and emotions.

What You Need

The ability to “play” a Photo Story 3 file and project the file so students may see it and hear it. We recommend you download Windows Media Player 11-see link below.


Folger edition of Henry V
Available in Folger print edition and Folger Digital Texts

War and Remembrance
Windows Media Player 11
What To Do

 What to do:   Ask students to voice opinions about war.  Then show the video.  After the video, or halfway through a showing, you may ask some of these questions:


  • Which line of the speech speaks most to you?   Why?
  • What did Shakespeare mean when he used the word “advantages” (slide 14)?
  • Why does Shakespeare call those who will be remembered “happy” and “few” (slide 28)?
  • What does the line “And hold their manhoods cheap” (slide 35) mean, and why pair it with a picture of an anguished soldier?
  • Which image is the most powerful?   Why?
  • Would you have chosen the same images?   If not, what kinds would you choose?
  • What statement does the music make?
  • Would you have chosen the same music?   If not, what kind of music would you choose?
  • How does the creator of this video use logic to persuade you?
  • How does the creator of this video use emotion to persuade you?
  • The creator of this video is a 50-year-old man who has taught for 25 years, but who has never fought in a war.   Can he be considered an authority?
  • Where is the video pro-war, or anti-war?
  • What was the purpose that the creator of the video had in mind?
  • If you were going to make a video about war, what would be in it?

How Did It Go?

After answering some of these questions, ask the students to write in one sentence some aspect of Shakespeare’s exploration of war: rarely does Shakespeare make his own personal opinion obvious but he often presents different perspectives. Students should try to identify one aspect that struck them most forcefully. Everyone share and discuss. 


 Then ask the students to write how they feel about war.  Share everyone’s sentence, and discuss.


If you used this lesson, we would like to hear how it went and about any adaptations you made to suit the needs of YOUR students.

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1 Comment

Thank you very much for the post festa lembrancinhas
Sheila August 5, 2014 6:12 PM
  Common Core State Standards

There are no standards associated with this Lesson Plan.
How To

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