The monologue you read and watched from Henry V begins with the Chorus wishing for things—“O for a muse of fire,” and so on. Explain what this Chorus—who of course speaks on behalf of the play’s author—is saying about the limitations of theatrical performance. Do Shakespeare’s ideas still hold true when we’re talking about filmed dramatic performances? And how does the filmed version of it seen here support or refute these ideas?
Video of monologue:
O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention,
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!
Then should the warlike Harry, like himself,
Assume the port° of Mars° and at his heels, visage, bearing / god of War
Leash’d in like hounds, should famine, sword and fire
Crouch for employment. But pardon, and gentles all,
The flat unraised spirits that have dared
On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth
So great an object: can this cockpit° hold site of cock-fights
The vasty fields of France? or may we cram
Within this wooden O the very casques° helmets
That did affright the air at Agincourt°? battlefield in France
O, pardon! since a crooked figure may
Attest in little place a million;
And let us, ciphers° to this great accompt,° nothings / accounting, tale
On your imaginary forces work.
Suppose within the girdle of these walls
Are now confined two mighty monarchies,
Whose high upreared and abutting fronts° foreheads
The perilous narrow ocean parts asunder:
Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts;
Into a thousand parts divide on man,
And make imaginary puissance°; power
Think when we talk of horses, that you see them
Printing their proud hoofs i’ the receiving earth;
For ’tis your thoughts that now must deck° our kings, adorn
Carry them here and there; jumping o’er times,
Turning the accomplishment of many years
Into an hour-glass: for the which supply,
Admit me Chorus to this history;
Who prologue-like your humble patience pray,
Gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play.
****Entry must be at least 400 words. ****
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