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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.

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Introduction

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. Throughout the of the play, Henry V, Shakespeare establishes Henry's status through a range of other characters. This essay will focus on the linguistic features and the specific words used by these characters to achieve their view of Henry. In the first extract (Act I, scene I, line 22-37) the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Ely discuss Henry's status as a war mongering Christian king 'full of grace (Christian goodness) and fair regard' (line 22). Throughout this extract Canterbury uses highly loquacious language, which Shakespeare has characterised by using various types of imagery, elevating the importance of Henry's status to the audience. This incorporates the use of metaphor to establish Henry's status on 'commonwealth affairs' expressing his position on war to the audience. The metaphor 'List his discourse of war, and you shall hear/A fearful battle render'd you in music' (line 43-44) compares Henry's talk of war to a battle of music conveying Henry as a war-mongering king to the audience, stressed by the imperative mood of the command verb 'list'. The use of the second person pronoun 'you' effectively addresses Ely and the audience directly stressing Henry's status as a King of the people by using an imperative mood. ...read more.

Middle

The imperative mood of the adverb 'sudden' emphasises his immediate change of attitudes to his new high status kingly duties, establishing Henry as a swift decision maker showing his decisive status. Henry's status in the third extract (Act II, scene IV, line 48-64) is highly acclaimed by the King of France who warns that he is not to be taken lightly, as they do not want to return to their 'familiar paths'(battle of Crecy). The French King's frank and figurative speech praises Henry's qualities emphasising his powerful position. At the start of the extract the French King establishes Henry's power through the following example: 'Think we King Harry strong;/And, princes, look you so strongly arm to meet him' (line 48-49). Shakespeare does this by using command verbs such as 'look' and 'think' in an imperative tone to stress that Henry is a perfect 'strong' warrior. Shakespeare also uses a noun group, a common feature of literary texts, to convey Henry's superior status. The noun group 'strongly arm' connotes that the French Prince has equipped weapons on himself to meet Henry suggesting his concern for his welfare, and therefore conveying to the audience that Henry has a high superiority. Throughout this extract the French King compares Henry's qualities to that of his great ancestor King Edward, who defeated the French at the battle of Crecy. Shakespeare's use of metaphor to imply the similarities of Henry and Edwards qualities is conveyed through an extension of agriculture comparing the growth of a cultivated plant to the growth of Edward's power and therefore Henry's as well. ...read more.

Conclusion

Shakespeare stresses how heartless Henry is further more through the imperative mood of the proper noun 'King', emphasising that once he gained his royal duties he then became unfeeling. This unfeeling nature of Henry standing in the eyes of the audience explains that his high esteemed status is not as respected by his people as first thought, through Canterbury's speech. Nym and Hostess support this callous view of Henry further on in the play by describing how brutally the King has 'fractured' and 'killed' his heart. This in turn displays Henry as a normal person who does do wrong at some stages of his life. The phrase that follows 'that's the even of it' suggests that it is the truth that Henry is no more than a normal person like everyone else, he simply has higher status responsibilities but that doesn't make it acceptable for him to be callous. These three extracts combined with other various scenes of the play show Henry's differential status through various characters points of view. Overall the images of Henry's qualities convey him as a high status Christian monarch with resolute loyalty to his duties and responsibilities, often suppressing his feelings to uphold the law and therefore be a respected person by his people. Foregoing his relationship with Falstaff shows his heartless nature of his status but also conveys his power as he establishes that his country comes before his own feelings, a typical trait of a good leader. ...read more.

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