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In an essay of not more than 1500 words discuss the representation of masculinity and violence in Henry V and The Rover.

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Introduction

TMA 07 In an essay of not more than 1500 words discuss the representation of masculinity and violence in Henry V and The Rover. Representing violence as an essential tool to gaining control, Henry V is dominated by masculine power, in this case, with the control of France. The cast is mainly male, containing just four female characters, namely Mistress Quickly, Isabel Queen of France, Katherine her daughter and Alice, the attendant. The chorus sets the scene of war in the prologue, with 'Then should the warlike Harry' and 'That did affright the air at Agincourt'. This image is further represented when the Archbishop of Canterbury is conferring with the Bishop of Ely about the King, 'List his last discourse of war, and you shall hear / A fearful battle rendered you in music. (I.1. 43/44), and further on 'His hours filled up with riots', (I.1. 56). Henry lays responsibilities on others for his actions, justifying these actions by appealing to the church for answers, a Christian King, putting all his trust in God. In his speech to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Henry threatens the violence of war, as he appeals to him with 'For God doth know how many now in health / Shall drop their blood in approbation / Of what your reverence shall incite us to. ...read more.

Middle

The opening scene sets the theme, with the conversation between Florinda and her sister Hellena. They are discussing their fathers desire for Florinda to enter into an arranged marriage to the older Don Vincentio. Their brother Pedro is exercising his male position in the family in supporting their father's wishes, telling her 'you must consider Don Vincentio's fortune, and the jointure he'll make you' and 'I have a command from my father here to tell you, you ought not to despise him, a man of so vast a fortune.' (P.160/161 The Rover). The age difference is a problem for her, as she states 'Let him consider my youth, beauty and fortune; which ought not to be thrown away on his age and jointure.' (P.161 The Rover). Hellena seems destined to spend her life living as a nun, this being predetermined by their father. However, both girls decide they will not be ruled by their father or brother, showing their female strength. Hellena takes command, saying 'We'll outwit twenty brothers, if you'll be ruled by me' (P.164 The Rover). During the conversation with their brother, Hellena defends Florinda's desires, telling him 'Marry Don Vincentio! Hand me, Such a wedlock would be worse than adultery with another man.' ...read more.

Conclusion

(III.1.1/2), encouraging them to war. A woman saying this wouldn't have the same impact. It is in effect a play of masculine heroism. 'The play's aim is to celebrate heroic actions under a heroic King.'(P.21 Introduction-Henry V). Whereas, The Rover celebrates female intuition and resolve in the fight against patriarchy. There doesn't appear to be any room for women to control their own lives, so any woman who succeeds, needs to be of a strong disposition. There are acts of violence, but these are feminised by the fact that the men are fighting for women, and the women end up with choices. There is a feminine strength constructed through the use of rhetoric language, mainly Hellena when talking to her brother about Florinda's impending marriage, and then Angellica in her confrontation with Willmore after he has mocked his vows to her and she threatens him with a pistol, saying 'Does not thy guilty blood run shivering through thy veins? / Hast thou no horror at this sight, that tells thee, / Thou hast not long to boast thy shameful conquest?' (P.235 The Rover). In conclusion, Henry V seems to maintain gender boundaries, with masculinity being active alongside violence. Whereas The Rover stands between the acceptance of masculine power and female dominance. ...read more.

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