Reflection on the Transcription of The Saint Crispin's Day Speech scene from Kenneth Branagh's film of the Shakespeare classic Henry V (1989)
By Bharat Kathpalia
The recording I chose to transcribe for this assignment was The St. Crispin’s Day Speech from Kenneth Branagh’s film of Shakespeare’s Henry V. The St. Crispin’s Day Speech was delivered by Henry (played by Branagh) to his soldiers, a day before the Battle of Agincourt. The scene begins with a discussion between Henry’s cousin the Earl of Westmoreland and other English Noblemen about how the French army outnumbers their army 5 – to – 1. The odds are greatly against the British army, even more so, as they have been marching through France while the French Army is waiting inside the walls of Agincourt. The soldiers start to complain because they feared their lives. This leads to wish that they had more soldiers – “Oh that we now had here, but one ten thousand of those men in England that do no work today.” Henry overhears this and disagrees. He starts talking in a raised voice so that everybody around him can hear him – establishing an ethos with his soldiers. He starts by saying that the soldiers should be happy that there are so few of them because they will have a greater share of honor when they return. He asks those who are afraid to fight this battle to leave, and they will be given some money to head home. He then moves closer to the other soldiers so that more people can hear him. He argues that those who stay on to fight will remember with pride this battle, they will have something to boast about for the rest of their lives, and that those Englishmen who stayed at home will regret this opportunity to gain honor that they have missed. He then uses the word ‘brother’, this implies that Henry considers them his equals and not just soldiers who are fighting for a King. He also manages to establish a more personal relationship with each of his soldiers. He ends his speech in a raised voice and...
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