Another Glove Story
Posted by ice rivers on Fri, 26 May 2023
Once again, gloves pop up in my story. This time in the play Henry V. Why wouldn't the Bard throw in gloves whenever he could. His old man was not only a glovemaker but also a a whittawer (a maker of white leather goods) Glove will find a way.
In Shakespeare's historical play, "Henry V," the young King Henry ascends to the throne of England and faces the daunting task of reclaiming the French territories that his ancestors had once possessed. Motivated by national pride and a desire for glory, Henry rallies his troops, inspiring them with his powerful speeches. The play follows the English army's journey to France, culminating in the famous Battle of Agincourt. Amidst the chaos of war, Henry displays his leadership skills and cunning, outwitting his enemies. The play explores themes of leadership, patriotism, the nature of warfare, and the complexities of personal identity. Through Henry's journey, Shakespeare examines the qualities that make a great king and the weight of responsibility that comes with power.
As they prepared for the Agincourt battle, Henry decides to disguise himself and walk amongst his men to gauge their level of readiness to fight. He engages in conversations with various soldiers, including a guy named Williams. Williams is a typical worker whose kinda pissed off about his boss. Most of us are like Williams some time or other. So here we have Henry in disguise playing a round of undercover boss when he runs into Williams. Williams, not recognizing Henry, engages in a verbal exchange with the boss/ normal guy, expressing his doubts about the war and questioning the king's responsibility for the lives lost in battle. Williams argues that the king should bear the guilt if the war leads to a disastrous outcome. Henry, still incognito, engages in a thoughtful discussion with Williams, defending his decision and sharing his perspective on leadership and responsibility.
Williams challenges Henry's decision to wage war, arguing that the responsibility for the lives lost in battle rests on the king's shoulders. Williams declares that if he had the power, he would willingly confront the king and demand answers. To test Williams' resolve, Henry reveals his true identity and engages in a heated exchange with him. As a sign of his authority, Henry throws down a glove before Williams, challenging him to a physical duel. Williams, unaware that he is speaking to the king, accepts the challenge and pledges to wear the glove as a mark of their encounter.
Of all the names possible for this character, William Shakespeare chose Williams.
Henry delivers the St. Crispin's Day speech, inspiring his soldiers with notions of honor and brotherhood.The Battle of Agincourt takes place, with the English achieving a remarkable victory against the larger French force. The French nobles are captured, including the Constable and the Dauphin.
After the battle, Williams is still wearing the glove and looking to fight the man who gave it to him. After the initial encounter in Act 4, Scene 1, where Henry throws down the glove and challenges Williams, the scene continues in Act 4, Scene 4. In this subsequent scene, the encounter between Henry and Williams resumes.
Williams encounters Fluellen, another soldier in the English army, who mistakes Williams for an enemy. A verbal argument ensues, during which Williams insists on wearing the glove he received from the stranger as a symbol of their encounter. Fluellen becomes involved in the argument and berates Williams for disrespecting the king by wearing the glove in such a manner.
Eventually, Fluellen reveals that the glove was given to Williams by King Henry himself, causing Williams to realize the gravity of the situation. He acknowledges the honor bestowed upon him and vows to wear the glove with reverence. Fluellen advises Williams to be thankful for the king's kindness and to keep the glove as a token of their meeting.
Yet another glove story, ripe with passion and misunderstanding ends happily.
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