When Henry orders their arrest, however, they beg for forgiveness.
Gould's influence on twentieth-century criticism is hard to overemphasize. Postwar criticism of the 1920s and '30s continued to produce some one-sidedly heroic/patriotic readings of the play, but sophisticated scrutiny of the play's ironies and ambivalences and of Shakespeare's consciously multivalent arguments would gain traction throughout the ensuing decades. The 1940s, unsurprisingly, saw a resurgence in conservative arguments for a heroic Henry, as the Second World War became the overwhelming interpretive context: G. Wilson Knight's The Olive and the Sword sought to muster Henry Vas a source for "refuelling [the] national confidence" at the same time as Laurence Olivier's film version of the play was pressed into the service of the War Office (Wilson Knight, Olive4). But even John Dover Wilson, who sought in his 1947 edition to recuperate Henry's heroism in the face of the anti-Henry legacy of Hazlitt, concedes that the play is more complex than the pre-Gould reductively patriotic readings would suggest. Henry is not Shakespeare's ideal, Dover Wilson argues, hearkening back to Dowden's treatment, but a successful king in a flawed world. Wilson's conception of war is informed by his moment, but by arguing that Shakespeare's was similarly influenced by his, Dover Wilson finds a way to counter Hazlitt's attack:
Essays and articles on King Henry V - Shakespeare Online
Detailed information on Shakespeare's King Henry V
The terrible fact about Henry V is that Shakespeare seems equally tempted by both its rival gestalts. And he forces us, as we experience and re-experience and reflect on the play, as we encounter it in performances which inevitably lean in one direction or the other, to share its conflict. (293)
Essay on William Shakespeare's Henry V -- Papers
In Henry V Shakespeare creates a work whose ultimate power is precisely the fact that it points in two opposite directions, virtually daring us to choose one of the two opposed interpretations it requires of us (Rabkin 279).