Dr. Frank Brownlow, “The Purple Testament of Bleeding War” (MP3 Download)


Run Time: 45 minutes

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Henry V is popular as a patriotic, or even a nationalistic play, and is one of the most popular of Shakespeare’s history plays in modern times. In the day of its composition, however, we have little evidence of popularity. Productions that focus on patriotic themes usually cut hundreds of lines of the play’s text, but these lines reveal unpleasant aspects of Henry V, and create mixed emotions about the king’s origins and behavior. Dr. Brownlow here revisits the complexity of the character of Henry V and focuses on the mixed feelings of the Elizabethian audience to the career of the popular hero of the Henriad. The death of Falstaff and the fates of Pistol and Bardolph are of special interest.

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