never_promised: (0)
never_promised ([personal profile] never_promised) wrote in [community profile] ways_back_room 2017-06-06 01:07 pm (UTC)

oh hey so henry v pretty much describes it all in detail (and please skip over this if you want, for talking about rape and murder):

"The gates of mercy shall be all shut up,
And the flesh'd soldier, rough and hard of heart,
In liberty of bloody hand shall range
With conscience wide as hell, mowing like grass
Your fresh-fair virgins and your flowering infants.
What is it then to me, if...
The blind and bloody soldier with foul hand
Defile the locks of your shrill-shrieking daughters;
Your fathers taken by the silver beards,
And their most reverend heads dash'd to the walls,
Your naked infants spitted upon pikes,
Whiles the mad mothers with their howls confused
Do break the clouds, as did the wives of Jewry
At Herod's bloody-hunting slaughtermen."

He's talking here outside of Harfleur, which surrenders, and Shakespeare gets away with not showing that happen: as a character, Harry gets to show off his goodness by telling his soldiers to be scrupulously careful with the French civilians. But everything he's threatening there is what historically happened at more than one point in his French campaign, notably at Caens, with Henry's blessing. I figure it's fair game for characterization of the fictional Harry, since Shakespeare gives us that speech. And it's a very damning speech. I wanted to include the Biblical reference because by his own standards, Harry knows this is evil.

He feels bad about it. He'd do it again.

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