AS and A Level: Henry V

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55 AS and A Level Henry V essays

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  1. It is easy to see how Henry V can be seen as an inspirational play, to its original audience. When Shakespeare was writing this play, he obviously used a variety of different methods to inspire his English audience.

    This way of thinking about him remains constant. Shakespeare would have done this for a specific reason. He starts the play by basically comparing Henry against two high-ranking religious officials, making Henry seem like a normal person. This would have allowed the various social classes that were in the audience to feel some sort of connection with Henry. They would be able to see him as one of them. That way, when Henry accomplished something, they all accomplished something. When Henry overcame adversity, they all overcame adversity.

    • Essay length: 1640 words
  2. Discuss the roles of the chorus in Acts 3-5 in Henry V.

    The connotations of exhibiting courage are highlighted by the use of 'brave'. The epitomizes the so called positive aspects of English patriotism in Shakespeare's era, but also represents how the English army are fear no one and are prepared to do whatever it takes to satisfy their desires. Shakespeare describes the English surge with the use of the sibilance 'silken streamers', which gives the play and the ship a sense of speed, it sounds almost like the ship going through the waves of the sea.

    • Essay length: 840 words
  3. The opening few lines of scene two introduce Falstaff who immediately exemplifies his comic nature and makes a profound impression on the reader. This grand opening demonstrates the confidence in Falstaff who suggests that he's 'not only witty

    The opening few lines of scene two introduce Falstaff who immediately exemplifies his comic nature and makes a profound impression on the reader. This grand opening demonstrates the confidence in Falstaff who suggests that he's 'not only witty in (himself), but is also the cause of wit in other men'. The haughty arrogance here is part of a long monologue and is a manifestation of the control that Falstaff commands in conversation with other characters. In answering the Page (who has mocked him for his supposedly 'diseased' body)

    • Essay length: 688 words
  4. How are the two sides of Prince Henry's nature conveyed in this passage? Look at the apparent banter between Henry and Poins. Henry's apparent dissatisfaction at the philandering, tavern lifestyle manifests itself in act two scene two

    Under the influence of 'the fat villain' (Falstaff) the Page has degenerated 'from Christian....to ape' and can now only talk of the 'red lattice' windows of alehouses. Henry responds to the Pages demeaned nature saying 'has not the boy profited'. This could be interpreted by Poins and Bardolf as a harmless sarcastic joke pointing out how the Page has moved from a 'Christian' life of virtue to a tavern life of vice and sin. It could however be inferred as meaning that Henry is now disgusted with the vanity and emptiness of the life that the Page now leads.

    • Essay length: 773 words
  5. Discuss the dramatic purposes of the chorus speeches in Henry V

    The Chorus serves a different purpose in every act, but its general role is to fire the audience's imagination with strong descriptive language that helps to overcome the visual limitations of the stage. Henry V is unusual in employing a narrator-like Chorus, who introduces each act by supplying us with undramatized narrative details and/or setting the scene for what we are about to see.

    • Essay length: 1435 words
  6. Why do critics consider Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor to be inferior to the same character in the Henry IV plays?' Discuss, showing you have considered more than one point of view.

    Indeed, the Falstaff of the Henry plays has been described as the supreme comic character on the English stage. In The Merry Wives of Windsor, however, Falstaff, although he retains some of the former character's verbal extravagance, no longer uses his wit to stay one step ahead of everyone else. Quite the reverse. He becomes merely the butt of the humor. He is vain and stupid-stupid enough to believe that the "merry wives" will welcome his attentions. Not only does he make this big mistake, he repeats it, falling for the same ruse, not once, not twice but an incredible three times.

    • Essay length: 908 words
  7. Using the following extracts as a starting point, discuss the ways in which Shakespeare establishes Henry's status at various points, through a range of other characters, during the play.

    During this extract personification is used to show the audience how Henry has become a more mature leader now that he is high status. Canterbury uses personification such as 'But his wildness, mortified in him/seemed to die too' (line 26-27) to stress how quickly Henry has matured since his fathers death, gaining the respect of his people and the audience increasing their understanding that Henry is a serious leader. The verb mortified has been used in a past participle form to stress Henry's feelings of shame that his father did not see his regal qualities emerge, conveying to the audience that even with his high status he is still a person, who just wants his father to be proud.

    • Essay length: 1901 words
  8. Media Comparative Essay: Concerning the 2 well known film versions of Shakespeare's Henry V of Olivier (1944) and Branagh (1989)

    Olivier's version (1944) released in wartime delivered a message that seemed appropriate behind the propaganda cause of WW2. Laurence Olivier directed and starred in it himself as a patriotic call to the barricades. Olivier greatly aspired to become one of the greatest actors of the twentieth century. His attempt in the role of the main character 'Henry' was nothing short of this by delivering an epic performance in the midst of a gay, colourful depiction of battle. Kenneth Branagh's production (1989) attempted greater realism in the battle scenes and focused more on Henry's inner conflicts. Therefore there was not as much emphasis on the patriotic elements of the play as in Olivier's.

    • Essay length: 3503 words
  9. Media Comparative Essay: (in the medium of film) concerning the 2 well known film versions of Shakespeare's Henry V of Olivier (1944) and Branagh (1989) in the specific scenes of "A Little Touch of Harry in the Night" and "The Crispin Crispian Speech"

    Olivier's version (1944) released in wartime delivered a message that seemed appropriate behind the propaganda cause of WW2. Laurence Olivier directed and starred in it himself as a patriotic call to the barricades. Olivier greatly aspired to become one of the greatest actors of the twentieth century. His attempt in the role of the main character 'Henry' was nothing short of this by delivering an epic performance in the midst of a gay, colourful depiction of battle. Kenneth Branagh's production (1989) attempted greater realism in the battle scenes and focused more on Henry's inner conflicts. Therefore there was not as much emphasis on the patriotic elements of the play as in Olivier's.

    • Essay length: 3503 words
  10. Comparison of Olivier (1944) and Branagh's (1989) screen adaptations of Henry V

    Laurence Olivier directed and starred in it himself as a patriotic call to the barricades. Olivier greatly aspired to become one of the greatest actors of the twentieth century. His attempt in the role of the main character 'Henry' was nothing short of this by delivering an epic performance in the midst of a gay, colourful depiction of battle. Kenneth Branagh's production (1989) attempted greater realism in the battle scenes and focused more on Henry's inner conflicts. There was not as much emphasis on the patriotic elements of the play as in Olivier's. Branagh's film was constructed many years after Olivier's predominant original - when it was considered a classic.

    • Essay length: 3422 words
  11. English/ English Literature Joint Coursework Folder

    Laurence Olivier directed and starred in it himself as a patriotic call to the barricades. Olivier greatly aspired to become one of the greatest actors of the twentieth century. His attempt in the role of the main character 'Henry' was nothing short of this by delivering an epic performance in the midst of a gay, colourful depiction of battle. Kenneth Branagh's production (1989) attempted greater realism in the battle scenes and focused more on Henry's inner conflicts. There was not as much emphasis on the patriotic elements of the play as in Olivier's. Branagh's film was constructed many years after Olivier's predominant original - when it was considered a classic.

    • Essay length: 3422 words
  12. Shakespeare's Henry V: More Pageant than Play?

    Shakespeare also made some references to an anonymous play dating from 1594, The Famous Victories of Henry the Fifth. However it is understood that this play was so poor that Shakespeare went to an earlier better version which was the inspiration for the Famous Victories of Henry V. It has been claimed that some incidents in Henry V can be traced to other specific sources, but it is more likely that Shakespeare had absorbed the ideas from his own wide reading rather than embarking in such thorough research for this play. We know this because of the source material which has been recorded by Shakespeare.

    • Essay length: 1992 words
  13. Account For The Popularity Of The Figure Of Falstaff On Shakespeare's Stage

    And I prithee thee sweet wag, when thou art king, as, god save thy grace-Majesty I should say, for grace thou wilt have none." (Act 1, Scene 2 Lines 11-15) This is Falstaff talking to the prince, informing him of the reasons why he does not get up nor come out during the day, saying that because he is a thief he must go by the night. As an example of contrast, Hal at the end of act1 scene 2 says, "I'll so offend, to make offence a skill, redeeming time when men think least I will."

    • Essay length: 1605 words
  14. How does Shakespeare present King Henry to his audience?

    The reminder of Henrys untoward behaviour in the past brings a sense of realism to the character and creates a more realistic character within Henry. Ely and Canterbury rave of Henrys qualities to each other. They speak of his intelligence and competence but also of his generosity and affection. These two factors on Henrys character of found throughout the play. A good example of this can be found in Act II Scene II, when Henry orders the release of a drunkard who was arrested for shouting abuse at him in the streets.

    • Essay length: 1387 words
  15. Henry V Act 4 Scene 3.

    He somehow tries to justify the carnage and mass-slaughter that is about to take place and speaks of the ultimate honour of dying in battle. The scene begins when Lord Gloucester asks the other Lord's where the King is and Lord Bedford tells him that he has gone to view the enemy's army. They then talk about how terribly outnumbered they are (30,000 to 7,000) and Lord Westmorland wishes that they had some of the men that were not present, but safe in England.

    • Essay length: 1000 words
  16. The Subplot: Consider the significance of the subplot and examine Shakespeare's dramatic use of it to illuminate and contrast with the main story line.

    Henry V was written at a time where the people of Britain were very undecided over going to war and this served as a reminder of Britain's courage and valour. The play was written for the purpose of conveying a perfect monarch, and trying to create the same feeling about Elizabeth I. Shakespeare also made the attempt to create a sense that unity is possible after disparity and it would therefore create a feeling of optimism among the people who saw the play.

    • Essay length: 2104 words
  17. What makes Prince Hal an Unusual Hero?

    If only his own son could be more like this great man. "In envy that Northumberland should be father to so blest a son." However, could this have been the reason that Prince Hal turned out the way he did? With a father where nothing is enough and always demands the best. Could it be that Prince Hal knew he would never live up to his father's expectations and decided to behave the way he did? He does tell his father in some highly charged words that he will redeem his good name on Percy's head, but this is not

    • Essay length: 853 words
  18. Explore how Shakespeare creates humour for the audience in the scenes in which the wives humiliate Falstaff.

    This has a great affect on the audience's reactions. The audience is pre-warned of the wives' plans and early jokes by Mistress Ford prepare them for the visual humour approaching. "Without any pause or staggering take this basket on your shoulders: that done take it among the whitsters in Datchet-mead, and there empty it in the muddy ditch close by the Thames side." In the recent RSC production, a washing line, 1940's mangle, and the large buck-basket were on stage as an additional hint to the audience of the 1940 setting, allowing them to enter further into the collusion of the wives.

    • Essay length: 2334 words
  19. "All Things are ready if our minds be so" Explore the dramatic techniques used by Henry V to inspire his men before the battle of Agincourt.

    Henry said they had to behave like tigers and show no fear only strength. The next battle was the Battle of Agincourt, Henry's troops were exhausted after their last battle and were out numbered five to one. But Henry tries to inspire them again for the last time he starts off talking dramatically about death, "if we are marked to die, we are enough to do our country loss." I think he is saying that if the English are meant to lose the battle then it is better that they die, than thousands more if they wait for help.

    • Essay length: 960 words
  20. Comparing Shakespeare's Henry V to Kenneth Branagh's 1989 Film.

    The prologue to the beginning of this play calls upon the "Muse" to help present the play. The Chorus explains to the audience of the difficulties faced in presenting this play. It is difficult to transform a small stage to represent the English or French Courts, or the battlefield in France. They apologize, telling the audience, "But pardon, gentles all, the flat unraised spirits that hath dared on this unworthy scaffold to bring forth so great an object" (1.0- 8-11).

    • Essay length: 2268 words
  21. Henry V - differences between young and old.

    At the outset, we see Bolingbroke as a sick and tired man, who plans to embark on crusade as an act of contrition for his role in the murder of Richard II. Bolingbroke appears to be convinced in his presence as "a robe pontifical", and thus will never admit to being anything less than great. The characters of Falstaff and Bolingbroke at first seem to be diametrically opposed opposites in terms of personality, yet they share many common traits. Falstaff, the "abominable misleader of youth", is a thief and admits to being a robber of purses.

    • Essay length: 1715 words
  22. Is Falstaff siplayed as honourable in Act 1&2 - Act I, scene 2 is of considerable importance because it introduces one of Shakespeare's most famous and beloved characters: Harry's friend and mentor Falstaff.

    Falstaff does not hesitate to lie outrageously, but he is not concerned when he is caught. He sees no value in gaining honor by risking his life but instead believes he can find more honor in keeping his life. In short, Falstaff is interested in his own self-preservation and in living and enjoying his life to the fullest The relationship between Falstaff and Harry is complex. Falstaff seems to be fond of Harry, but it is strange that Harry enjoys spending time with Falstaff.

    • Essay length: 947 words
  23. Shakespeare's, Henry V, was written in the late sixteenth century.

    In Henry V the Church funded Henry's war with France, this was commonplace in both Henry and Shakespeare's era. The church was very powerful and very rich, and the only people above them were the king or queen and God. People of those eras also believed in the Chain of Being, this was an imaginary chain, the King being at the top followed by the Church, lords and nobles; down to lowly peasants, to plants and even stones. At the beginning of the play the Bishop reminds Ely that Henry was once wild and offensive, "The breath no sooner left his fathers body but that his wildness, mortified in him seemed to die too: yea, at that very moment consideration, like an angel came and whipped the offending Adam out of him."

    • Essay length: 1839 words
  24.  Comparisons and differences between, Lawrence Olivier and Kenneth Branagh in their films of Shakespeare’s Henry V.

    "In spite of the reforming enthusiasm and experience of many members of prime minister Clement Attlee's cabinet, however, this was still an era of austerity, as the devastating economic impact of the war became evident." BBC HISTORY SITE Henry V was his first attempt at film directing and it won him an Academy award in 1946. The Second World War interrupted his acting career and he went to work for the British government to promote the sale of war bonds and bolster public support for the war.

    • Essay length: 1052 words
  25. 'Forster's vision is essentially a nostalgic one, hankering hopelessly after a romantic version of the English rural past' Is this a fair comment?

    Wilcox asks Margaret to help her with her Christmas shopping. When the two are out Ruth seems to be lost in the vulgarity of the commercial world. London is described as a 'clot of gray' with Ruth complaining about the loudness referring to it as a 'din'. The conversation moves on and Mrs. Wilcox picks out Margaret talking about her 'new house'. They then speak about Howards End, and Ruth tells Margaret about how it was nearly 'pulled down'. Ruth says this would have 'killed me'. Margaret is invited to visit and too casually she accepts for another day.

    • Essay length: 1020 words

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Henry V - Compare the relationship between Hal and Falstaff in two different scenes

    "In these two scenes we have seen different sides to both Hal and Falstaff. The locations and events happening in each scene were also different so caused different sides of people to show through. The relationship between Hal and Falstaff also changes quite a lot. As Hal changes to fit in with what he needs to be, Falstaff doesn't change. Even though their relationship is never totally destroyed, they could never go back to being as they were at the beginning of the play. Hal has always been greatly superior to Falstaff but Hal has always treated him as a friend. However now, it is hard for them to go back being as they were because Hal realises his position and has to keep up the expectations of the public and his family."

  • In the tradition of aesthetics, Oscar Wilde said, “There is no such thing as a moral or immoral book” to what extent is ‘The picture of Dorian Gray’ an immoral book?

    "In conclusion the essay. I think this book is not immoral, a lot of the characters are immoral especially Lord Henry. But different people have different views on what's moral or immoral. Oscar Wilde has written a book that shows what happens if you live your life in certain ways like taking drugs but it is not teaching us to do these things, he merrily wrote a book for the sake of writing a book. Steve Hounsell Henry gave Dorian a book; this is also affecting the picture as Dorian is living through the book. Dorian does not live his own life and he is dissatisfied with his new life."

  • Compare and contrast Hal and Hotspur. Note their similarities and differences.

    "To conclude, at the start of the play, I would have deemed Hal to be a most unsuitable King, and Hotspur as one to whom the title would be most suited. However, during the course of the play, Shakespeare constructs a complex character development for both Hal and Hotspur. At the end of the play, after Hal's triumphant reformation, I would argue that he is by far a more appropriate leader. He possesses all the necessary qualities, diplomacy, courage and honour to name but a few. Hotspur is impulsive, albeit brave, undiplomatic and tactless. To have Hal fighting with him instead of in opposition to him only strengthens Henry's position regarding his previously uncertain title to the throne."

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