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AS and A Level: Henry V

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  1. 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.

    • Word count: 3503
  2. What are the functions of the Chorus in Shakespeare's Henry V?

    Appealing to a muse, a goddess patron of the arts, tells us that is going to be a really special play. The audience react to this, getting excited as they find they are going to watch such a wonderful play. The prologue raises our expectation of Henry, as we know previously he had been a bit of a rebel. It now calls him the 'Warlike Harry'; it says he is like Mars, the god of war. Throughout the play, the audience are reminded how great Henry is.

    • Word count: 3774

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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