Henry V is Shakespeare’s most famous “war play”; it includes the storied English victory over the French at Agincourt. Some of it glorifies war, especially the choruses and Henry’s speeches urging his troops into battle. But we also hear bishops conniving for war to postpone a bill that would tax the church, and soldiers expecting to reap profits from the conflict. Even in the speeches of Henry and his nobles, there are many chilling references to the human cost of war.Henry V is the most famous and influential of Shakespeare’s history plays. Its powerful patriotic rhetoric has resounded down the ages, gaining eloquent expression in Laurence Olivier’s renowned film. Henry himself, astute and charismatic, who led his ‘band of brothers’ to victory in the Battle of Agincourt, could indeed seem to be ‘this star of England’. In recent decades the play has attracted increasing critical attention and is now highly controversial.