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Analyse how King Henry's character progresses and changes through-out the play and show why I believe Shakespeare represented the character in this way.

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Introduction

The character of Henry V in the play is not a simple one as it has many aspects. In this essay I will try and analyse how King Henry's character progresses and changes through-out the play and show why I believe Shakespeare represented the character in this way. To analyse the character of Henry V I will look at the King's manners, speech and behaviour throughout the play. Henry V, king of England, known for his victorious campaigns against France, was born at Monmouth in August or September of 1387. As descendant of a line of great kings and leaders, King Henry was a man with a great deal of morals. Henry V was two completely different person before and after he was crowned king. Before he was crowned, people think he was childish and ineffective, however after he was named king; he became mature and often display phenomenal qualities that command fear, respect and loyalty from others. Through out the play of Henry V, Shakespeare clearly illustrates his attitude and opinion toward war and the nature of kingship. Shakespeare's attitude towards war was clearly defined and portrayed through the actions and the comments made by different characters in the play. ...read more.

Middle

Crispen's Day speech before the battle in Agincourt. In that speech, Henry tried to boost the moral of his soldier before the war because he knew that his army was exhausted from the long travel and is greatly outnumbered. In this speech, Shakespeare revealed war is all about honor, courage and fame. He also talked about brotherhood, often referring his army his "band of brother". In the statement, "we few, we happy few, we band of brothers...his blood with me will be my brother" Henry removed his title as the King of England, and talked to his men as their brother. In the end, Henry was able to instill courage with their mind, and was victorious over the French. An insight into the character of Henry is shown here in his behaviour when he became King. At the start of the play in Act One Scene One the Archbishop of Canterbury (Canterbury) and the Bishop of Ely (Ely) are speaking. The two speak of two important things to do with our question, Canterbury says that "The King is full of grace and fair regard." To which Ely replies "And a true lover of the holy Church." These both are qualities expected of a noble and honourable king, showing that Henry himself is honourable. ...read more.

Conclusion

Charm and an ability to woo and be loved by women are yet more qualities King Henry displays in Act Five Scene Two. With all these qualities being shown by the king it becomes more obvious what Shakespeare is trying to do , he is creating a perfect king. In this scene Henry is left alone with the French princess, Katherine and her attendant Isabel. "Mock mercifully, the rather, gentle princess, because I love thee cruelly." This is just one line spoken by Henry to woo Katherine. I believe that in this play Shakespeare used the character of Henry V to show his patriotism and inspire it in others. By telling the story that this famous and miraculous victory at Agincourt was lead by a king that was perfect he is implying that England is the country of God. Also the victory of England inspires patriotism in the common man and a belief that they are a special people chosen by God. In Henry V Shakespeare shows a greatness and divinity that all Englishmen should strive to achieve, by doing this he is creating a role-model for his time, a role-model that especially nobles would do well to follow as Henry V has the qualities of a perfect gentlemen. One could perhaps say that in Henry V Shakespeare is setting his guidelines for a Utopian society (if everyone was as honourable as king Henry V). ...read more.

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