Friday, January 22, 2010

Battle # 2 Henry V vs Julius Caesar

Battle #2 - Henry V. vs. Julius Caesar
'Better late than never'

Welcome, welcome one and all to the second official day of the Battle of the Bards!! Today we have a tragic match up full of enough greed, betrayal, and death to make the burliest of thespians cry. Break out the tissues and get your mommy on speed dial because this battle promises to bring out the tears. So come one, come call, come big, come small, and place your votes!!

Before we begin today's match we will be reviewing the rules/concept for those of you playing at home. Twice a week we will be pitting two of Shakespeare's most classic plays against each other in a no holds 'bard' contest to answer the age old question
While some plays might be 'deeper' or more technically written this contest is worried not about those things. Our contest comes right down to what you, the readers, feel in your heart of hearts is the most deserving for the crown. So make sure to carefully weigh your decisions and aim true before selecting your choice. (The poll can be found directly to the top left of the page).

The comedy battles will take place every Monday while Friday will hold the tragedies. You will have 3 days time to vote on each match up so don't dillydally. However we encourage you in that 3 days to do a little outside research of your own. Maybe watch a movie version, find a fun tv. parody, or even actually read a bit of the play (gasp!). However if you don't feel like going the extra mile, we will be providing you with a cornucopia of information for each play to guide you in your quest.

The path is sure to be long and hard but fear not, your efforts shall be rewarded in the end!! This week marks the begging of the 'first tier' of battles. For those who filled out their brackets, each correct guess in this tier will earn you one point towards the grand prize.

So for all of you who had M.A.A.N to win the first battle, you have earned yourself one point towards the GRAND PRIZE!! As the battle gets a little further into the game, we will be providing some stats about point leaders.
Now that you have heard the rules it is time to bring today's competitors! So break out your foam fingers, practice your iambic pentameter, and let's get ready to rummmbbllleeeeee in the...



In the left corner, representing all those oldies out there we have:

Henry V.
Weighing in at : 3403 Lines
First Appearance:
Short Summary:
Henry rising, Falstaff falling, victory speeches
Longish Summary:

Okay okay okay.... so technically this isn't really a tragedy It is based on the life of King Henry V of England, and focuses on events immediately before and after the Battle of Agincourt during the Hundred Years' War.

The play is the final part of a tetralogy, preceded by Richard II, Henry IV, part 1 and Henry IV, part 2. Original Shakespeare fans would already be pretty familiar with Henry, who was depicted in the Henry IV plays as a wild, undisciplined lad known as "Prince Hal." In Henry V, the young prince has become a mature man (boring) and embarks on an attempted conquest of France.

So even though this is tech. a history bear with us folks. We were trying to give you variety and this is one of the most tragic histories to us so here we go. The early scenes deal with the embarkation of Henry's fleet for France, and include a real-life incident in which the Earl of Cambridge and two others plotted to assassinate Henry (ohnoes!). However Henry is now not an idiot and figures this out.

When the Chorus reappears, he describes the country's dedication to the war effort - "They sell the pasture now to buy the horse" - and tells the audience "We'll not offend one stomach with our play" (lie.).

It isn't all as serious as it sounds though. In Henry's army there are some soldiers named Pistol, Nym, and Bardolph from the Henry IV plays, which have some pretty hilarious lines. The army also includes a Scot, an Irishman, an Englishman and Fluellen, a comically stereotyped Welsh soldier, whose name is an attempt at a phonetic rendition of "Llywelyn" (It's an Elizabethan thing). The play also deals briefly with the death of Falstaff who you have probably heard of even if you haven't read the play.

Before the Battle of Agincourt the chances of them winning aren't looking so great. However Henry steps it up with his decision to wander around the English camp at night, in disguise, so as to comfort his soldiers and find out what they really think of him. Before the battle begins, Henry rallies his troops with the famous speech:

"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day."

Pretty powerful stuff eh? I'd ride in to battle with him any day. What he said must have worked because they win!! The action ends with the French king adopting Henry as his heir to the French throne and the prayer of the French queen "that English may as French, French Englishmen, receive each other, God speak this Amen."

Interesting quotes:

  • I think the king is but a man, as I am: the violet smells to him as it doth to me.
  • Once more unto the breach, dear friends.
  • You may as well say, that ’s a valiant flea that dare eat his breakfast on the lip of a lion.

In this video you can see Henry V. dropping some pretty powerful verbal bombs. Makes you want to go fight some Agincourts right?

Is this speech enough to rouse you to vote? If Henry V's infamous words aren't doing it for you perhaps your vote is better suited for our next contestant...

Julius Caesar
Weighing in at : 2459
First Appearance: 1599
Short Summary:
hide from the ides, Brutus beware, multiple stabbings
Longish Summary: (with help from here)

Contrary to the title, Caesar is not actually the main character in this play. The play opens to the scene of two Tribunes, Marullus and Flavius scolding Roman citizens for blindly worshiping Caesar. Everyone is afraid that Caesar is growing too powerful and arrogant and must be stopped. Hoping to reduce the blind hero worship of Caesar, the two men remove ceremonial decorations off Caesar's "images" (statues) despite the obvious dangers of doing so...

A little later, we see Caesar forcing everyone to stare at him during a parade despite the fact that earlier he got the now classic warning 'beware the ides of March'. Obviously he doesn't care. Cassius, who fears Caesar's ever growing power, begins to recruit Brutus, a close friend of Caesar's, towards his conspiracy by implying that Caesar is becoming too powerful and reveals information to Brutus that suggests Caesar may be getting more ambitious. Some other people including Brutus finally join in and the conspiracy is on.

The complete group of conspirators meets at Brutus' house, to discuss Caesar's assassination. Brutus argues against Caesar's right hand man, Mark Antony being assassinated as well. Cassius and Trebonius have their doubts but go along with Brutus. Brutus' nosy wife Portia tries to find out what her husband is planning.

Calphurnia, Caesar's wife, wakes Caesar up after herself awakening from a terrible nightmare. Of course he doesn't listen and sure enough he gets stabbed later that day by Brutus. Mark Antony rolls out, however he shows back up to speak at the funeral.

During his speech, Mark Antony reveals his true hatred for the conspirators. Too bad for him, the whole city hated J.C too.

Using the immortal words, "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;" Mark Antony turns the citizens of Rome against Brutus and Cassius by making the citizens feel remorse for Caesar's cruel death and by bribing then with the news that Caesar's will gifts each citizen money from his will.

The crowd, now an angry, crazed mob (kill the beast!) go after the conspirators including Brutus and Cassius who flee in fear...

What follows is a pretty long and interesting battle between the conspirators and some towns people lead by Mark Anthony. Like we said earlier, Caesar wasn't even really the good part of this play. The play ends with everyone coming to some good realizations about themselves and others, however it is still pretty sad.
Fun Facts:
  • Cry "Havoc," and let slip the dogs of war" -- No Tattoo Tuesday today, however enjoy this!!
  • Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more
  • Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.
    Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, it seems to me most strange that men should fear;
    Seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come
J.C gives old King Lear a punch to the gut with this video:

Make sure you click to watch and wait until at least 2:10. The Cosby boys do a pretty HILARIOUS rap about good old J.C. which brings some humor to this tragedy. Alright folks there you have it. Which one of these classic gentlemen will prevail in the end? Will Caesar learn his lesson the second time around? Will Henry V. compel you to put that voting finger to use?
-mischief managed-


  1. Yes yes, and the voting continues...
    No fun anecdote on this one but a bit of trivia... Julius Caesar is the Shakespeare play that I'Ve sold the most frequently at my used books store! It did influence my vote, for shizzle.

  2. Haha that is def. an interesting stat to hear! I wonder if that has any thing to do with J.C being taught more regularly or due to actual popular interest? Thanks so much for the comment and vote!

  3. I thought Julius Caesar was matched up against Henry V, and Lear versus MacBeth in their respective first match-ups? or did the brackets change? uh-oh, that might have changed my picks! oh well ;)

  4. oh my gosh haha you are so right!!! I will change it asap! Thanks so much for the heads up. Sorry folks

  5. Oohhh...I have to agree with JB here. I thought Henry V and JC were up first. Ack, I hope I didn't mess up my brackets!

  6. haha thanks every one that let us know we are silly marauders!! This post is now edited and we will be giving every one 4 days to vote to make up for it!! Look for Monday's scheduled post later tonight as well!

  7. Woot! I got the first right :)

    Man I need to read some Shakespeare!


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