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Saturday, April 9, 2016

Saturday Morning Trivia: Shakespeare and Sherlock

Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes
A few friends and I decided to start a book club to alternate between reading Shakespeare and Church documents. We just started, and our first selection is Henry V. For those not versed in Shakespeare, the play revolves around the main battle of the 100 year war between England and France, the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.  Henry, who lived a loose and lascivious life before mounting the throne, casts off his former self to become a serious monarch, one who intends to claim what he considers his right to French lands.

Last night (in the wee hours when I couldn't sleep), I read Act III which finds Henry and his retinue on the French coast laying siege to the city of Harfleur. This is the source of the famous speech that begins, "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more." As I read Henry's exhortation to his troops I stopped short at the end when I read, "The game's afoot."

Well, we all know that Sherlock Holmes is brilliant and, as a well-educated man, he certainly would have studied Shakespeare. So Conan Doyle puts in his mouth a line that is straight from Henry V, warrior extraordinaire. Fitting isn't it? The master detective who defeats so many villains speaking a line from one of Shakespeare's most successful warrior kings?

As a fan of both Shakespeare and Sherlock, I was tickled to make this discovery. Although I read Henry V in college the link with Sherlock escaped me at the time. Forever after when I hear "the game's afoot" I will think of Henry V and his victory at Harfleur and Sherlock rousing Watson to charge into the breach to defeat Moriarty and his cohort.


Susan Matthiesen said...

So, yes, with "Amoirs Laetitia", the game's afoot!

Sir Kenneth Branagh, a Shakespearean actor, plays King Henry V who is also Kurt Wallandar in the British TV series Wallander, adapted from Swedish novelist Henning Mankell's books. Great actor!!

Love the three guys at the end of the clip, who after encouraging everyone else to rush into battle, turn to run away...only to be met by the rear guard.

Apparently they are Richard Earl of Cambridge, Henry Lord Scroop of Masham, and Sir Thomas Grey, Knight of Northumberland...better known today as Cardinal Walter Kaspar, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, and Cardinal Christoph "positive element of same-sex unions" Schonborn.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Thanks for unmasking the rogues. LOL!

Elisa said...

I saw "Henry V" with Sir Kenneth Branagh in the titular role as a college student years ago. Emma Thompson played Katherine of Valois.

I watched the "The Hollow Crown" series on DVD awhile back. The series was originally broadcasted on PBS's "Great Performances" lineup in 2012. Tom Hiddlestone played Prince Hal (opposite Jeremy Irons in "Henry IV" Parts 1 & 2) and the titular role of Henry V. If you get a chance to watch the "Hollow Crown" series, they're well done (acting and cinematography) and feature a number of well-known British actors.
Of note, PBS's "Great Performances" will be showing "Henry VI" and "Richard III" sometime in the spring/summer.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

I love Jeremy Irons! I'll look for the series. Thanks!