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Teaching Henry V

Resources from Folger Education

This page contains resources for teaching Henry V, a play that showcases one of history's greatest leaders.  Below you'll find links to Folger Education resources that include teaching modules, resources, videos, and more.

Teaching Modules

Folger Education offers teaching modules on Shakespeare's frequently taught plays, as well as modules on introducing Shakespeare. Try the modules below, or, for more modules for Henry V, visit the Teaching Modules Archive.


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

Tackle the tough topic of war with your students in this discussion-rich lesson plan exploring the use of language in Act 4 of Henry V. How does the language influence the characters' emotions, and how does that resonate with modern audiences?



Teaching Tools

The Folger edition of Henry V includes facing-page notes and illustrations throughout the play; background information on the play, Shakespeare's life, theater, and times; notes on unfamiliar language, or words that meant something different in Shakespeare's day; and a scholarly assessment of the plays in light of today's interests and concerns.

Request a desk copy of this edition from Simon & Schuster


Curriculum Guides lay out everything you need to teach this play for the first time: an introduction to the play, character connections, synopsis, teaching modules, suggested scenes for performance, fun facts, and familiar quotes.


Other Resources

Seeing Shakespeare performed, or performing Shakespeare, can help students feel confident reading and understanding Shakespeare's language. To see performance-based education strategies for your classroom, check out our clips on YouTube here.


Colorful Character Connections offer an at-a-glance map of character relationships, an introduction to the plot, and important quotes to look and listen for.


Archived study guides from past Folger Theatre performances provide activities and discussion questions for students to consider before seeing a performance or as they rehearse scenes from this play.



Online Resources

Shakespeare's speech rhythms may be unfamiliar to students. Click here to watch Folger Education's acting troupe Bill's Buddies explain "Iambic Pentameter."

The Folger Exhibition, Now Thrive the Armorers: Arms and Armor in Shakespeare focused on how real-world military changes influenced many of Shakespeare’s plays, including Henry V. Click here to visit the exhibition online.



For many students today, reading Shakespeare's language can be a challenge. Things to pay attention to in Henry V:

  • unfamiliar words or words whose meanings have changed
  • unfamiliar word order
  • wordplay
  • implied stage action

From the opening speech by the Chorus of Henry V, Shakespeare creates a rich tapestry of words to create the worlds of the play. Some are unfamiliar because they are no longer used: casques, ciphers, puissance. Others have meanings that have changed: nicely for "subtly," happy is used where we would say "fortunate."


Some words are strange not because of changes in language over the centuries but because Shakespeare is using them to build a dramatic world that has its own space, time, history, and background mythology.  In Henry V, Shakespeare uses one set of words to construct Henry V's court and the stately houses and courtly battleground confrontations, and he uses a second set to create the lavish court of France, and yet another to construct the lower-class world of thieves, vintners, hostesses, hostlers, and setters who frequent the taverns of Eastcheap and inns along "the London road."


In Henry V,Shakespeare often uses sentence structures that separate words that normally appear together. This is often done to create a particular speech rhythm, or emphasize a certain word. For example, the Chorus separates subject and verb when he says “Are now confined two mighty monarchies." The Bishop of Canterbury uses a similarly unfamiliar construction when he says,"The Gordian knot of it he will unloose."

In reading any of Shakespeare's plays, remember that you are reading a performance script, not a dialogue. Some stage directions are implied in the text, but much of the meaning is given by how the text is performed.

About the Play

Scholars believe Shakespeare wrote Henry V in 1599. It was published as a quarto in 1600. Among the sources are Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles and an early play, The Famous Victories of Henry the Fifth.

To learn more, explore our Discover Shakespeare online resource, including the sections highlighted at right.


Henry V

Additional Information

Henry V Character Connections

Henry V Study Guide

Henry V

Inside the Collection

Henry V Folios and Quartos from the Collection

In The Shop

Folger Editions Paperback

A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare 1599

Learn More

Shakespeare's Life

Shakespeare's Theater

Shakespeare's Works

Discover Shakespeare

Read the Play

Folger Digital Texts:
Henry V

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