Henry V: Novel Summary: Act 3, Scene 4

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Princess Catherine of France talks with her maid, Alice. The dialogue is in French. Having established that Alice has some knowledge of English, Catherine says that she must learn it too. She then asks Alice what the English terms are for the hand, fingers, nails, arms, elbow, neck, and chin. As Alice informs her, Catherine recites the words, trying to get the pronunciation right. When Alice tells her of the English words "feet" and "gown," Catherine is shocked, because the sounds of the words resemble words in French that refer to sexual parts of the body, or to a sexual act. She then repeats all the words with enthusiasm, now aware of the possible sexual connotations of many of them.
Analysis
After the drama of the previous scene, this comic scene with the two women comes as welcome relief. It is part of Shakespeare's dramatic technique to offer strong contrasts like this-an emotionally powerful scene may be followed by  a quieter one, for example, or an action scene followed by one that is more static and reflective.

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