Playing Dice at Agincourt: Games of Hazard and Providence in Shakespeare’s Henry V

Par Louise Fang
Publication en ligne le 10 février 2022

Résumé

Shakespeare’s Henry V contains many references to games. Critical attention has focused more closely on two ludic practices: tennis, which figures prominently in the play as the Dauphin’s gift of tennis balls in act 1 scene 2 gives rise to an extended metaphor for war which reappears in subsequent scenes; and archery, whose absence has been deemed particularly conspicuous considering the famously instrumental role played by the longbows in the English victory at Agincourt. In this paper, I wish to explore games of hazard, which are equally present throughout the play. Although these references may seem anecdotal at first, the debates and controversies that surrounded these games in the early modern period make them much more meaningful. Through games of hazard, players experience risk and “luck” or “fortune”, which were then often conflated with one of the possible manifestations of providence. In this perspective, references to games of hazard shed light on the historical narrative of Agincourt and its construction.

Si Henry V contient de nombreuses références aux jeux, deux pratiques ludiques ont tout particulièrement retenu l’attention : d’une part, le jeu de paume, qui occupe une place centrale dans la pièce, puisque le don de balles de jeu de paume par le Dauphin à l’acte 1 scène 2 donne lieu à une métaphore filée de la guerre qui réapparaît tout au long de la pièce; et, d’autre part, le tir à l’arc, dont l’absence paraît suspecte compte tenu du rôle déterminant joué par les arcs longs dans la victoire anglaise à Azincourt. Cet article propose ainsi de mettre en lumière le rôle des jeux de hasard qui sont également très présents dans la pièce. En effet, bien que ces références puissent sembler anecdotiques au premier abord, les débats et les controverses qui entouraient ce type de jeux au début de la période moderne les rendent beaucoup plus significatifs. À travers les jeux de hasard, les joueurs font l'expérience du risque et de la « chance » ou de la « fortune », notions alors souvent confondues avec l'une des manifestations possibles de la providence. Dans cette perspective, les références aux jeux de hasard éclairent le récit historique d'Azincourt et sa construction.

Mots-Clés

Texte intégral

1Shakespeare’s Henry V teems with references to early modern games and sports. The types of games that are alluded to in the play are wide-ranging: from the cockpit mentioned by the Chorus in the prologue, to the insulting tennis balls the Dauphin offers king Henry V in act 1 scene 2, or the pervasive hunting metaphors, and the “proverb-capping” match between the French nobles in act 3 scene 8,1 they seem to encompass every possible ludic practice of Shakespeare’s day.2 The references to so many games in a history play might seem surprising at first and not entirely in line with the epic tone the Chorus adopts in order to celebrate the heroic victory of Agincourt. Indeed, most of the time, the use of games to describe wars or diplomatic tensions in early modern Europe resulted from satirical intent. Gaming scenes served to underline the vanity and cupidity of monarchs or the papacy as is perceptible from one of the earliest caricatures entitled Le Revers du Jeu des Suysses and printed in France in 1514-1515:3

Image 1000020100000211000001BA25A69E0D0A5F002D.png

Le Revers du jeu des Suysses, Lyon, 1514 or 1515, woodcut

Crédits : BnF, Estampes EA 17 Rés. tome I

2The dauphin’s gift to the English king in act 1 scene 2 – and the extended tennis metaphor that ensues – undoubtedly takes up this satirical subtext as is the case of many other games and sports in Shakespeare’s history plays according to Gregory Colon Semenza.4 Moreover, the games we find in Henry V are decidedly unchivalrous. More importantly, there is almost no mention of archery in the play as Anne Curry underlines:

3Archers are remarkably think on the ground, and anyone reading the play without knowledge of other accounts of the battle could be forgiven for thinking that archers and their arrows play any decisive part in the English victory.5

4This absence is all the more striking as archery was actively promoted as the national sport by Tudor monarchs.6 In fact, several texts in favour of archery explicitly reminded readers of the role of the longbows at Agincourt as shown in Roger Ascham’s 1545 treatise Toxophilus:

Kynge Henrie the fifte a prince pereles and moste vyctoriouse conqueroure of all that ever dyed yet in this parte of the world, at the battel of Dagincourt with. vii. M. (7000) fyghtynge men, and yet many of them sycke, beynge suche Archers as the Cronycle sayeth that mooste parte of them drewe a yarde, slewe all the Cheualrie of Fraunce to the nomber of. XL.M. and moo and lost not paste. xxvi. Englysshe men.7

5By contrast, in the multiple games mentioned throughout the play, one type of game in particular is present and yet has attracted less critical attention: games of hazard, including wagers and dice.8 Although these may seem to be mere contextual motifs, I would like to argue in this article that they are also, paradoxically, instrumental to the construction of a providential narrative of Agincourt which is also put to the fore through the ludic rhetoric at work in Henry’s lines in Shakespeare’s play.

I. Games of Hazard in Context

6Games of hazard and especially dice were among the most widespread ludic practices in medieval and early modern Europe probably because they were the cheapest games available and could be made out of a great variety of materials as revealed by a recent archeological study.9 In 1597, dice were still widespread, so much so that according to Gilbert Walker: “onely of Dicers, her Maiestie might have an Armie sufficient to bidde the king of Spaine a Battail”.10 Soldiers in particular were known to be avid dice players. According to French historian and games specialist Jean-Michel Mehl, soldiers represented more than a third of players of games of chance in the late middle Ages.11 Geoffrey of Monmouth also mentioned soldiers playing dice between fights in his History of the Kings of Britain.12 Early modern depictions of game scenes conveyed this image by representing soldiers at the gaming table as we can see from this engraving by Crispijn de Passe, which warns against the choleric temperament caused by playing backgammon:

Image 10000201000001ED000002CC672ED9215E705991.png

Crispijn de Passe the Elder, The Choleric Temperament, engraving, c. 1590-1637

Crédits : The Trustees of the British Museum

7That Nym and Pistol should quarrel about a gambling debt in act 2 scene 1 of Henry V might therefore recall the popularity of games of chance among common soldiers at the time:

nym: You’ll pay me the eight shillings I won of you at betting?
pistol: Base is the slave that pays.
nym: That now I will have. That’s the humour of it.
pistol: As manhood shall compound. Push home.
[They] Draw [their swords] (2.1.76-79)

8However, games of hazard in general were also among the most controversial ludic practices of Shakespeare’s time. Dice in particular epitomized all the ills of gambling and were therefore even given pride of place in the titles of treatises or pamphlets against games as we can see from John Marckant’s pamphlet Of Dyce, Wyne and Women (1571), Gilbert Walker’s A Manifest detection of the most vyle and detestable use of diceplay and other practises lyke the same (1555), and John Northbrooke’s Treatise against Dicing, Dancing, Plays, and interludes with other idle pastimes (1577). Such authors often brought to the fore the fights and violence these games triggered, as well as the greed of the players. Some even appealed to local authorities to have them banned altogether as James Balmford did in 1600:

To the Maior, Aldermen, and Inhabitants of N.
That which heretofore I haue propounded to you (right Worshipfull and beloued) in teaching, I do now publish to all men by printing, to wit, mine opinion of the vnlawfulnesse of games consisting in chance.
13

9The chief argument these authors used to categorise these games as “dishonest” pastimes, according to the terms of the time, was, however, religious in nature. In addition to the pagan origins associated with most games of chance, puritans often emphasised that the workings of these games were reprehensible because they led the players to appeal to God’s providence for an unworthy purpose. In an anti-ludic treatise entitled A Glasse for Gamesters and printed in 1581, the preacher Thomas Wilcox explains this argument at length:

I take these games of Dice and Cardes, beyng as I saied before, games of lot, hazard, or chaunce, to bee flatly againste the thirde commaundement, thou shalte not take the name of the Lorde thy God in vaine. The reason that leadeth me thereunto is this. Lot, or chaunce (as we call it) is one of the principall testimonies of the power of God, because it is ruled and governed immediately, by his hand and providence, and was never ordained of God for any thyng, but for matters of greate weight, and never used amongst the Godly, but in causes of greate importaunce, as in partyng of goods, dividing of lands, election of Magistrates, choice of Ministers, and such like thynges, […] Besides that, it seemeth to bee a maner of tempting of God, when wee knowe, that he will not have this used, but in matters of greate weight and importaunce, and yet wee will use it, in thynges of no value, as though we would make God, a servaunt of our pleasures, laughters and delightes, and woulde knowe whether he have any care thereof, then the which, what can bee more straunge to utter, or fearefull to thinke:14

10This argument may be found in most treatises against games of chance. The Calvinist theologian Dudley Fenner also concludes the section dedicated to games chance of his Short and Profitable Treatise of lawful and unlawful Recreations on the abuse of God’s providence:

From all this I gather, that Dyce, dealing of Cardes, or such like, where the matter is layd on hazard (as they call it), or rather God his providence, without using any cunning of ours to dispose it, is upon the same reason of a Lot unlawful.15

11The chance that players so avidly sought in such games was therefore conflated with manifestations of God’s will following a common confusion. This view was only significantly challenged in 1627 by Thomas Gataker who asserted, in his Treatise on the Nature and Uses of Lotteries, that “Being a chance event does not make it part of God’s providence”,16 and even then Thomas Gataker was quite isolated in the debate on games of chance.17 The terms of the debates on games of chance in early modern England, and more specifically this confusion between random chance and providence, shed some light on the ludic references that appear in Henry V.

II. Soldiers and Players at Agincourt: Winning Against the Odds

12The negative associations of games of chance pervade act 3 scene 8 where the French nobles are shown indulging in a series of games on the eve of battle. Of course, the French propensity to play games implicitly levels the same criticism that was implied by the Dauphin when he offered the tennis balls to Henry V in act 1 scene 2. But there is a marked emphasis on their taste for dice games and wagers towards the end of the scene:

bourbon: […] Will it never be day? I will trot tomorrow a mile, and my way shall be paved with English faces.
constable: I will not say so, for fear I should be faced out of my way. But I would it were morning, for I would fain be about the ears of the English.
rambures: Who will go to hazard with me for twenty prisoners?
constable: You must first fo yourself to hazard, ere you have them. (3.8.72-80)

13“Going to hazard” here is an expression for betting which is probably derived from one of the most popular games of the time, “hazard”18 which was played with two dice. In addition to Rambures reference to “hazard” in this scene, the chorus takes up the image of the French who “the low-rated English play at dice” in act 4 (4.0.18-19), with a special emphasis on the word “dice” which is placed the end of the line. The image of the French betting on their future victory is then again taken up by the English king himself as he tries to revive the courage of his soldiers the night before the battle:

king: Indeed, the French may lay twenty French crowns to one they will beat us, for they bear them on their shoulders. But it is no English treason to cut French crowns, and tomorrow the king himself will be a clipper. (4.1.199-202)

14These allusions to diceplaying therefore highlight the hubristic optimism of Rambures and contribute to the stereotype of the boastful French before the battle as is made evident by the more circumspect attitude of the Constable of France in the same scene. In fact, later in act 4, their unexpected military discomfiture is encapsulated by Bourbon’s rhetorical question in which the image of dice is used once more in order to underline the reversal of situation that took place on the battlefield: “Be these the wretches that we played at dice for?” (4.5.11).

15The emphasis on the French soldiers’ diceplaying of course contributes to the disparaging image of Henry’s enemies in the play. It may also bring to mind the biblical subtext associated with this specific game: by the end of the sixteenth century Roman soldiers playing dice at the foot of the cross had become a favoured subject of painters. The objectification of the “low-rated” English at the French soldiers’ diceplay therefore also invites us to read this scene as a rewriting of this specific moment in the Bible, equating the overly confident French with the reckless Romans. Of course, this subtext indirectly contributes to glorifying the English and Henry V as a Christ-like figure as well.

16Perhaps more unexpectedly considering the reputation of games of hazard and dice, throughout the play the battle itself is conceived of and described in ludic terms by the English characters as well but this time in a way that plays on the confusion between fate and chance which I’ve mentioned earlier. This is perceptible through the numerous references to odds and what Jonathan Baldo has termed the “obsessive concern” of Henry V for numbers.19 Before the battle itself for instance, Henry’s army insists on the disproportionate odds the English are facing:

westmorland: Of fighting men they have full threescore thousand.
exeter: There’s five to one. Besides they all are fresh.
salisbury: God’s arm strike with us! ’Tis a fearful odds. (4.3.3-5)

17Presenting the battle of Agincourt in terms of games of chance has two major implications. Firstly, these ludic references also make up for the material shortcomings of the stage repeatedly mentioned by the Chorus. Representing the battle in terms of wagers and dice games is a way to draw from what is the most appealing dimension of games of chance to represent Agincourt, perhaps in order to galvanize an audience who was probably very familiar with these popular games. As the physician Pascasius had analysed at the time, and as it has been confirmed by much more recent medical studies since, what truly animated players of games of chance was not so much the financial gain they could draw from a lucky throw but the feeling of hope and anticipation before the game or the wager itself.20 It might be said then that although the play does not portray the spectacular dimension of the battle on stage, it metaphorically recreates this feeling of anticipation linked to an unlikely victory at a game of chance for an audience who was already quite aware of the outcome of the battle.

18Besides, as Salisbury’s exclamation from act 4 scene 3 makes clear, the insistence on the improbability of victory suggests that only a divine intervention may reverse the odds of the battle. The mention of odds and wagers in acts 3 and 4 therefore contributes to strengthening the impression of an unexpected and miraculous reversal of situation that occurred on the battlefield thanks to a divine intervention. Henry V is not the only play by Shakespeare using a metaphor taken from games of chance to suggest a providential reading of history, in Richard III the eponymous character on the field of Bosworth declares: “I have set my life upon a cast, / And I will stand the hazard of the die.” (5.7.9-10).21 At the end of this play of course, the “hazard of the die” is a clear allusion to a superior and divine power at work in history that accounts for the downfall of the usurper. Matters are more ambiguous in Henry V where these references also directly serve the purpose of a king whose claim to the throne is not always as secure as it seems.

III. Tempting Fate at Agincourt: Henry’s Ludic Rhetoric, a Providential Reading of History

19In Henry V, the providentialist reading of the outcome of a wager or a game of chance is conspicuously used as a rhetorical tool in Henry’s lines. The presence of these ludic references in his lines is all the more surprising as the English king precisely takes offence at the image of his playful youth brought back by the present of the Dauphin at the beginning of the play. However, this ludic rhetoric is what allows Henry to eventually turn the English victory of Agincourt into an irrefutable divine sanctification of a conquest whose legitimacy was initially far from being indisputable.

20The English king consistently brings to the fore the considerable risks he takes by undertaking this military campaign. The gambling metaphor is even found in Henry’s lines to describe warfare itself but in a way that does not echo the negative associations which we have mentioned. In act 3 scene 7, as he justifies the harshness of his punishment of Bardolph’s theft, he portrays the English conquest of France as a wager between lenity and cruelty:

king: We would have all such offenders so cut off, and we give express charge that in our marches through the country there be nothing compelled from the villages, nothing taken but paid for, none of the French upbraided or abused in disdainful language. For when lenity and cruelty play for a kingdom, the gentler gamester is the soonest winner. (3.7.92-97)

21The term “gamester” was generally used derogatorily and significantly jars with the ideal of chivalrous warfare. The moral condemnation gambling was usually subjected to therefore seems to be suspended by Henry’s use of the oxymoronic phrase “the gentler gamester” in favour of a ludic approach to warfare.

22In fact, the very moment in which the king decides to wage war against France in act 1 scene 2 takes up all the terms of a perilous wager. His reiterated use of the exclusive “or” in these lines especially give the impression that he is going for broke:

king: […] Now are we well resolved, and by God’s help
And yours, the noble sinews of our power,
France being ours, we’ll bend it to our awe,
Or break it all to pieces. Or there we’ll sit,
Ruling in large and ample empery
O’er France and all her almost kingly dukedoms,
Or lay these bones in an unworthy urn,
Tombless, with no remembrance over them.
Either our history shall with full mouth
Speak freely of our acts,
or else our grave
Like Turkish mute, shall have a tongueless mouth,
Not worshipped with a waxen epitaph. (1.2.222-233)

23In this perspective, we might liken Henry to the figure of Julius Caesar who inspired another play by Shakespeare at about roughly the same time as Henry V (i.e. 1599). In his decision to declare war, the deictic “now” emphasises the momentous aspect of the decision he has just taken and is therefore reminiscent of the renowned “alea jacta est”. Indeed, like Caesar crossing the Rubicon, Henry V is ready to lose everything as he crosses the Channel to conquer France.

24This all-or-nothing approach is again emphasised in the heroic couplet which concludes act 2 scene 2 after the arrest of Cambridge, Gray and Scroop:

king: […] Let us deliver
Our puissance into the hand of God,
Putting it straight in expedition.
Cheerly to sea, the signs of war advance.
No King of England, if not King of France. (2.2.184-188).

25Henry’s famous words before the battle of Agincourt in act 4 scene 3 “We few, we happy few” (4.3.60) is particularly interesting. According to the logic we find in these lines: “The fewer men, the greater share of honour” (4.3.22). Here, Henry overturns the strategic rationality at work in battles and wars in favour of a markedly symbolical one. Moreover, the word “happy” here might also hint at its etymological sense of “lucky”. Indeed, the fewer they are, the luckier they are in case of victory, and if there is a victory, the more divinely assisted the English will seem. Henry’s military strategy closely resembles that of a player staking his all: what he is hoping for is a highly significant and symbolical victory. Henry’s strategy relies on tempting fate in order to ultimately legitimize his political power despite the doubts he himself voices in his monologue at the end of act 4 scene 1. Indeed, in the aftermath of the battle, Henry once more explicitly underlines the role of providence in the English victory, as he had done before the battle, and declares: “Praisèd be God, and not our strength, for it.” (4.7.77). As he himself suggests that such a victory could only be achieved through divine assistance, Henry validates the causes that have led him to wage war against the French in the first place, hereby also putting an end to the criticism voiced by some of his own soldiers in act 4 scene 1.

Conclusion

26The precarious situation of the English underlined by the themes of gambling, fortune and hazard throughout the play therefore indirectly serve the glorification and heroization of Henry V. This can be seen through the wagers of the French, which highlights their arrogance of course, but we also find these ludic themes, perhaps more unexpectedly, in Henry V’s own description of war as a hazardous wager. One of Henry V’s many ambiguities is therefore to show how its eponymous character uses the rhetoric and logic at work in the most controversial games of Shakespeare’s time in order to shore up his political legitimacy and provide a providential reading of history. The initial accusation of the Dauphin towards a king who was deemed too inclined to frivolous games in his youth is therefore ultimately turned to Henry’s advantage as he wins his wager at Agincourt. Paradoxically, the English king’s authority is then strongly linked to one of the most controversial ludic practices of the time in a way that somewhat blurs the distinction between the two enemies of the Hundred Years’ War.

Bibliographie

ASCHAM, Roger, Toxophilus, London, printed by Edward Whitchurch, 1545.

BACH, Rebecca Ann, “Tennis Balls: Henry V and Testicular Masculinity, or, According to the OED, Shakespeare Doesn’t Have Any Balls”, Renaissance Drama 30 (1999), p. 3-23.

BALDO, Jonathan, “‘Into a thousand parts’: Representing the Nation in Henry V”, English Literary Renaissance, 38.1 (winter 2008), p. 55-82.

BALMFORD, James, To the maior, aldermen, and inhabitants of N., printed by John Harrison for Richard Boile, 1600.

BARBER, Richard, and BARKER, Juliet, Les Tournois, Paris, Cie 12, 1989.

BERTHEAU, Gilles, “The Revells of Christendome (1609) ou le dessous diplomatique des cartes”, Études Épistémè [Online], 39 (2021). DOI.

BREWSTER, Paul G., “Games and Sports in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century English Literature”, Western Folklore, 6.2 (April 1947), p. 143-156.

CURRY, Anne, The Battle of Agincourt: Sources and Interpretations, Woodbridge, The Boydell Press, 2000.

EERKENS, Jelmer W. and DE VOOGT, Alex, “The Evolution of Cubic Dice from the Roman Through Post-Medieval Period in the Netherlands”, Acta Archaeologica, 88.1 (December 2017), p. 163-173. DOI.

FENNER, Dudley, A Short and profitable Treatise of lawfull and unlawfull Recreations, and of the right use and abuse of those that are lawfull, Middleburgh, printed by Richard Schilders, 1587.

GATAKER, Thomas, The Nature and Uses of Lotteries: A Historical and Theological Treatise, second edition: reviewed, corrected and enlarged, with additional answers to some further arguments by the author, originally published in 1627, London, printed by John Haviland, modernised with notes and bibliography by Conall Boyle, Imprint academic, 2008.

LINNET, Jakob, “The anticipatory dopamine response in addiction: A common neurobiological underpinning of gambling disorder and substance use disorder?”, Progress in Neuropsychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry, n°98 (2020) 109802. DOI.

MEHL, Jean-Michel, Les Jeux au Royaume de France du XIIIe au début du XVIe siècle, Paris, Fayard, 1990.

NADEAU, Louise and VALLEUR, Marc (dir.), Pascasius ou comment comprendre les addictions, suivi du Traité sur le jeu (1561), trans. Jean-François Cottier, Canada, Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 2014.

SEMENZA, Gregory Colon, “Sport, War, and Contest in Shakespeare’s Henry VI”, Renaissance Quarterly, 54.4 (Winter 2001), p. 1251-1272.

SHAKESPEARE, William, King Henry V, ed. Andrew Gurr, Cambridge, Cambrige University Press (The New Cambridge Shakespeare), 2005.

SHAKESPEARE, William, The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works, second edition, eds. Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 2005 [1986].

TRIBBLE, Evelyn, “Where are the archers in Shakespeare?”, ELH, 82.3 (Fall 2015), p. 789-814.

WALKER, Gilbert, Mihil Mumchance, His discoverie of the Art of Cheating in false Dyce play and other unlawfull games, London, printed by John Danter, 1597.

WILCOX, Thomas, A glasse for gamesters, London, printed by Jhon Kyngston, 1581.

WINTER, Guillaume, “‘The varnish of a complete man’: Shakespeare et l’Homo Ludens”, Actes des congrès de la Société française Shakespeare, 23 (2005), p. 201-214. DOI.

Notes

1 All the references to the play are taken from William Shakespeare, King Henry V, ed. Andrew Gurr, Cambridge, Cambrige University Press (The New Cambridge Shakespeare), 2005.

2 See Guillaume Winter, ‘The varnish of a complete man’: Shakespeare et l’Homo Ludens, Actes des congrès de la Société française Shakespeare, 23 (2005), p. 201-214. DOI.

3 On the topic of the ludic motif in political and diplomatic satire, see Gilles Bertheau, “The Revells of Christendome (1609) ou le dessous diplomatique des cartes”, Études Épistémè [Online], 39 (2021). DOI.

4 Gregory Colon Semenza, “Sport, War, and Contest in Shakespeare’s Henry VI”, Renaissance Quarterly, 54.4 (Winter 2001), p. 1251-1272.

5 Anne Curry, The Battle of Agincourt: Sources and Interpretations, Woodbridge, The Boydell Press, 2000, p. 307.

6 Evelyn Tribble, “Where are the archers in Shakespeare?”, ELH, 82.3 (Fall 2015), p. 789-814.

7 Roger Ascham, Toxophilus, London, printed by Edward Whitchurch, 1545, p. 40.

8 On the other types of games that are mentioned in the play see: Rebecca Ann Bach, “Tennis Balls: Henry V and Testicular Masculinity, or, According to the OED, Shakespeare Doesn’t Have Any Balls”, Renaissance Drama 30 (1999), p. 3-23; Gregory M. Colón Semenza, op. cit.

9 Jelmer W. Eerkens and Alex de Voogt, “The Evolution of Cubic Dice From the Roman Through Post-Medieval Period in the Netherlands”, Acta Archaeologica, 88.1 (December 2017), p. 167.

10 Gilbert Walker, Mihil Mumchance, His discoverie of the Art of Cheating in false Dyce play and other unlawfull games, London, printed by John Danter, 1597, sig. Bv.

11 “Pour les jeux qui intégraient une part de hasard, tels que les tables, cartes, et marelles, les hommes de guerre représentent à nouveau plus du tiers des joueurs.” Jean-Michel Mehl, Les Jeux au Royaume de France du XIIIe au début du XVIe siècle, Paris, Fayard, 1990, p. 194-195.

12 See Richard Barber and Juliet Barker, Les Tournois, Paris, Cie 12, 1989, p. 28.

13 James Balmford, To the maior, aldermen, and inhabitants of N., London, printed by John Harrison for Richard Boile, 1600.

14 Thomas Wilcox, A glasse for gamesters, London, printed by Jhon Kyngston, 1581, sig. C.

15 Dudley Fenner, A Short and profitable Treatise of lawfull and unlawfull Recreations, and of the right use and abuse of those that are lawfull, Middleburgh, printed by Richard Schilders, 1587, p. 8.

16 Thomas Gataker, The Nature and Uses of Lotteries: A Historical and Theological Treatise, second edition: reviewed, corrected and enlarged, with additional answers to some further arguments by the author, originally published in 1627, London, printed by John Haviland, modernised with notes and bibliography by Conall Boyle, Imprint academic, 2008, p. 21.

17 Ibid., p. vii.

18 “In this gambling game, played with two dice, any number could play.” Paul G. Brewster, “Games and Sports in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century English Literature”, Western Folklore, 6.2 (April 1947), p. 148.

19 Jonathan Baldo, “‘Into a thousand parts’: Representing the Nation in Henry V”, English Literary Renaissance, 38.1 (winter 2008), p. 74.

20 Louise Nadeau and Marc Valleur (dir.), Pascasius ou comment comprendre les addictions, suivi du Traité sur le jeu (1561), trans. Jean-François Cottier, Canada, Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 2014. A recent study has also confirmed that gambling addiction was underpinned by the anticipatory dopamine response proper to these games: cf. Jakob Linnet, “The anticipatory dopamine response in addiction: A common neurobiological underpinning of gambling disorder and substance use disorder?”, Progress in Neuropsychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry, n°98 (2020), 109802. DOI: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2019.109802.

21 William Shakespeare, The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works, second edition, eds. Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor, Oxford, Clarendon Press, (1986) 2005.

Pour citer ce document

Par Louise Fang, «Playing Dice at Agincourt: Games of Hazard and Providence in Shakespeare’s Henry V», Shakespeare en devenir [En ligne], Shakespeare en devenir, N°16 - 2022, I. Historicizing the Past, Emblematizing the Present, mis à jour le : 10/02/2022, URL : https://shakespeare.edel.univ-poitiers.fr:443/shakespeare/index.php?id=2728.

Quelques mots à propos de :  Louise Fang

Louise Fang est maîtresse de conférences en théâtre de la première modernité à l’Université Sorbonne Paris Nord. Elle est l’auteur d’une monographie intitulée Jeux et Théâtre dans l’œuvre dramatique de William Shakespeare (Paris, Classiques Garnier, 2019).

Droits d'auteur

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY-NC 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/fr/) / Article distribué selon les termes de la licence Creative Commons CC BY-NC.3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/fr/)