Summary and Analysis Act III: Prologue



The Chorus enters with a flourish and once more urges the audience to imagine the king and his troops setting sail for France and also to imagine an England emptied of all her stalwart soldiers, defended only by "grandsires, babies, and old women." The English ambassador has returned; the French king has offered his daughter, Katharine, and some minor dukedoms, but he has refused to give up his throne. Henry has rejected the offer, and he now sails to France to do battle.


As with the previous Prologues, this one serves to explain a lapsed time period, and again it reminds the audience that they must continue to use their imaginations — this time, however, the language of the Prologue is more elaborately descriptive. The king embarks on a "fleet majestical" which bears the English forces to France, and the entire "brave fleet" is adorned and lighted by dawn:

. . . behold the threaden sails,
Borne with the invisible and creeping wind,
Draw the huge bottoms through the furrow'd sea,
Breasting the lofty surge. (10-13)