Henry V

Back to List of Characters

Lewis the Dauphin

Lewis the Dauphin is a character in William Shakespeare's play Henry V. He is the young and impulsive heir to the French throne and plays a significant role in the events leading up to the Battle of Agincourt.

Born into royalty, Lewis is portrayed as a naïve and arrogant young man who underestimates the power and determination of the English army. He is introduced as the Dauphin of France, a title given to the heir apparent to the French throne. Despite his noble lineage, Lewis lacks the maturity and experience necessary to effectively lead his country.

First Encounter with Henry V

In the play, Lewis first encounters Henry V during a diplomatic meeting in which Henry demands his right to the French crown. Lewis, confident in his own abilities and the strength of the French forces, dismisses Henry's claims and mocks him openly. This arrogance sets the stage for the conflict between the two nations.

As the play progresses, Lewis becomes increasingly aware of the threat posed by Henry and the English army. He witnesses the valor and courage displayed by the English soldiers and realizes that victory is not as certain as he once believed.

Realizing the gravity of the situation, Lewis begins to question his own abilities as a leader. He seeks counsel from his advisors and is advised to make peace with Henry to avoid further bloodshed. However, Lewis is torn between his pride and the need for a peaceful resolution.

Ultimately, Lewis decides to join the French forces in the Battle of Agincourt. Despite his inexperience, he fights valiantly but is ultimately captured by the English. This turn of events serves as a humbling experience for Lewis, who comes to understand the consequences of his actions.

The character of Lewis the Dauphin serves as a foil to Henry V, highlighting the contrast between the two leaders. While Henry is depicted as a wise and strategic ruler, Lewis represents the impulsiveness and arrogance often associated with youth.

Shakespeare's portrayal of Lewis the Dauphin serves as a cautionary tale, reminding audiences of the dangers of underestimating one's opponent and the importance of humility in leadership.