Henry V: The Commoner's King Essay
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Henry V: The Commoner's King
Henry the Fifth has been noted as England’s best King throughout history. He was loved among the common people and nobles alike for his fairness, his effectiveness on the throne, his justness, and his ability to relate to people of all classes. The kings that reigned before him, especially his father King Henry IV and King John, provide a striking contrast to Hal’s attitude on the throne. Kings of the past had not experienced the life of the common people, and chose to lead their lives in the realm of the castle. As we witnessed in I Henry IV, Hal’s father even went as far to discuss this approach to ruling at length with Hal. Henry IV believed that a king was best admired and supplicated if he was kept…show more content…
I know thy quality.
King: Thou dost thy office fairly.
King Henry V also touched on a subject very pertinent to many people of that time: God. In many instances, he places God before all else. In Act 1, scene 2, England receives a message from France in the form of tennis balls. This is when he decides to make war with France final. He tells his lords:
…omit no happy hour
That may give furth’rance to our expedition.
For we have now no thought in us but France,
Save those to God, that run before our business.
He also gives God the credit for various accomplishments. The fact that Henry gives God the honor of winning the war shows that he is not selfish or conceited, and that he recognizes a spiritual force behind his actions.
O God, thy arm was here!
And not to us, but to thy arm alone
Ascribe we all. When, without stratagem,
But in plain shock and even play of battle,
Was ever known so great and little loss
On one part and on th’ other? Take it, God,
For it is none but thine!
Not only does Henry share his glory with God, but also with his royal subjects and all of England. In Act 1, scene 2 he tells the ambassadors of France that "We are no tyrant, but a Christian king"(241). The fact that he shares his
Essay on Henry V
The way Shakespeare wrote his plays were constructed on what was happening at the time. When he was doing the play 'Henry V' queen Elizabeth the 1st was on the throne (1558-1603). Like Henry she was a strong and powerful leader an excellent ruler of England but she spent a lot of time at war with the French and the Spanish.
Shakespeare then decided he needed a great monarch who was well respected that’s how he came to choose 'Henry V'.
Shakespeare's version of Henry V was so influenced on the audience which made them wish they could of fort for Henry in the great battle of Agincourt. Shakespeare describes Henry v as "the mirror of all kings"(act 2 line 6) shown in the chorus , throughout the play the Chorus acts like an narrator to help us almost paint a picture in are minds of what a type of leader Henry really is. The play clearly describes Henry been a very religious person like before battles he would stand up in front of his men and say a prayer to God and tell his men that God is with them and make his men feel like there playing a big part for there country .
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Henry is displayed by Shakespeare as a model King and military leader, and in comparison the English are portrayed as the better side as opposed to the less than adequate French side. Shakespeare was obviously somewhat biased when it came to his own country. Although Henry’s duties as a King seem flawless we question his character at certain points of the play when his friends become complications in his duties. He shows no favoritism towards Bardolph, who is caught stealing from a church. Henry had given orders for no looting and lets the execution proceed. Also, when Falstaff falls ill, the hostess certainly believes that Henry has acted in an unfeeling way to Falstaff: “the king has killed his heart” This could be considered cold hearted or it could be argued he is fair and firm.
Earlier on in the play Henry is betrayed by 3 of his most noble knights Cambridge , Scroop and Grey "we are no tyrant but a christian king….."-again referring to God illustrates the betrayal. (p.15l.241)
whenever he calls upon him. He also passes his glory on to God after winning the battle for when Montjoy tells him the day is his, Henry replies “Praised be God, and not our strength, for it”. This also shows how Henry feels God is always there for him, and he truly and sincerely depends on him. In these religious times, the fact that the King was a strong believer of God was good, for it influenced and helped his people’s faith. But Henry is only serious; he also has fun side, which consists of his humor and his wits.
These display his mental sharpness. At the beginning of the play Henry replies to insult with wit and intelligence. He replies to the Dauphins insolence by turning his sarcasm into a metaphorical speech.
The assault on the town of Harflur ends in glory after a speech spoken in words powerful enough for his men to gain morale and fight for Henry and their country. Henry is effective in his speeches, he uses sound and vivid images such as "set the teeth and stretch the nostrils wide..." which adds strong feeling to his speech. He gives merit to his men in his speech's "on , on you noblest English" in patriotic language. He compares his men to (greyhounds).
Henry delivers the rousing St Crispian’s Day speech before the battle of Agincourt and fires them all with enthusiasm (Act four, Scene three)
Henry gives an impression to the audience that he is loyal king to his people and country his talks before his battles are so meaningful his prayer b4 the battle of agincourt (act 4 scene1 , line 287)"o God of battles steal my soldiers hearts. Posses them not with fear . Take from them now" and as I mentioned earlier on immediately after the battle he would go straight to god and thank him . Shakespeare gives the audience the impression that Henry believed that his victories were in God hands.
As well been a strong powerful ruler he is a good influence to all his men (act4, scene 3 line 19) "whats he that wishes so?". He respects his men and calls them his brothers and will make them feel proud when the years to come of old age showing people that they were there on Saint Crispins day by showing there wounds and scars. When Henry said (act4, scene 3 line 60) "we few , we happy few, we band of brothers-for he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile This day shall gentle his condition-And gentlemen in England, now abed". In away the audience could tell that he was under pressure but not at one moment did he show this to his men he makes his men feel confident and willing to fight not to be scared and worried. At the battle Henry very bravely was the only one wearing he kings armor he didn’t have any decoys. (people who would wear the same armor as the king but not actually the king to attract the target to the enemy)
I personally like Henry V because of his attitude towards things like with a good friend Bardolph he is a man for his word. I also admire how he is king and doesn't see himself more important than his men he considers himself just the same (soldier, warrior) when he uses the famous phrase "BAND OF BROTHERS".
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