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Does Shakespeare successfully present Henry V as a hero to his audience?

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Does Shakespeare successfully present Henry V as a hero to his audience? My interpretation of a hero is somebody who is sincere and caring. They must be polite and well mannered. Someone who is strong and has a strong will in a tough situation. A person who is heroic, fearless, brave and courageous all rolled into one. A person who isn't afraid to say what they believe in. They must be confident and determined to follow something through to the very end and to fight for what is theirs. A person who is a good speaker and can put their point across to an audience. They must be prepared to make sacrifices as part of their job. Although all of the above things are important attributes of a hero I think there are two more important attributes. The first is to be loyal. To be loyal to your friends, family and country. Without loyalty there can never be trust. The second is the ability to change. To realise there is something wrong with you or your attitude and to do something about it. Ely and Canterbury talk about one of these attributes in Act one Scene one of the play. The ability to change. Shakespeare writes about one of the main attributes of a hero in the very first scene. When Canterbury looks back on the prospect of Henry being a King he says that, "The courses of his youth promised it not." ...read more.


Shakespeare shows the audience again of Henrys heroism by showing us he can be polite and that he has good manners. "How now, Llewellyn? Camest thou from the bridge?" Although Henry is like a friend to his soldiers, just like a hero Shakespeare shows us that Henry must face up to his responsibilities. Bardolph has been caught stealing and he says, "We would have all such offenders so cut off...in our marches through the country there be nothing compelled from the villages." Even though things aren't going as well as they should be Henry doesn't give up. In response to Montjoys offer for him to name his ransom he says, "...My army but a weak and sickly guard. Yet, God before, tell him we will come on Through France himself and such another neighbour stand in our way." Yet again in this extract of a speech Henry shows his strong beliefs in God. All of the above quotations came from Act three scene seven. Shakespeare makes the play very dramatic by using a chorus at the beginning of every act. These are very effective because it gives the audience a taster of what is going to happen but not enough to explain the act fully. This means that the audience want to know what is going to happen and when something does happen it makes it all the more dramatic. In Act four Scene one Shakespeare presents us the audience, with Henry's many heroic qualities. ...read more.


"Peace to this meeting, wherefor we are met." He then shows that a hero is just like any other man by trying to court the French king's daughter, Katherine. "Fair Katherine...if you will love me soundly with your French heart I will be glad to hear you confess it brokenly with your English tongue...An angel is like you...And therefore tell me, most fair Katherine, will you have me?" After agreeing the peace treaty Henry says, "prepare we for our marriage " The above quotations were taken from Act Five Scene Two. Overall I think Shakespeare has been very successful in presenting Henry as a hero. He is everything a hero could be. He has shown the audience that a hero could be sitting amongst them, that a hero is just an ordinary man or woman. The audience can relate to this because one day they themselves know that they could be a hero. I also think that the play was more effective in Elizabethan times than it is now. This is because when Shakespeare wrote this particular play Queen Elizabeth was coming to the end of a very successful rein and she had no one to succeed her. The Elizabethan community were very worried that there wouldn't be anybody as good to take over, especially not a man. Shakespeare then wrote this play showing a truly heroic, male King. This raised the hopes of the Elizabethan people and made the play much more effective and much more popular. By: Nicholas Graham 4 1 ...read more.

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