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Shakespeare has created a frivolous, sometimes disreputable Prince of Wales. In the early scenes of "Henry V", Shakespeare has to convince the audience that as a king, Henry will be a completely different person. How does he do this?

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Introduction

Carla Searle In the preceding plays of the tetrology, Shakespeare has created a frivolous, sometimes disreputable Prince of Wales. In the early scenes of "Henry V", Shakespeare has to convince the audience that as a king, Henry will be a completely different person. How does he do this? The two earlier plays in Shakespeare's tetrology; "Henry IV" parts one and two, the young Henry V (known as Hal) has been shown as an unlikable character. Through the dialogue of "Henry V" however, Shakespeare has needed to prove that Henry has become an amicable king. Henry's change in personality is shown to the audience in a number of ways during the early scenes of Shakespeare's "Henry V". "Henry V" is similar to many other Shakespearian plays in that it uses a Prologue to introduce the play. Unlike other actors in the play, the Prologue is not a character of the story. Instead, the main role of the Prologue is to introduce the play and explain to the audience at intervals, what is happening in the story. ...read more.

Middle

The King's reply to the Dauphin's message is polite and uses phrases such as; "We are glad the Dauphin is so pleasant with us." However, the King's reply to the Dauphin is littered with metaphors and imagery of battles, wars and fighting. Also, the King's speech to the French ambassador confirms his plans for war; "Tell you the Dauphin I am coming... To venge me as I may and to put forth My rightful hand in a well-hallowed cause. ...And tell the Dauphin His jest will savour but of shallow wit When thousands weep more than did laugh at it." This scene is poignant within the play regarding Henry's change in personality. This is because it shows that although in his younger days, Henry was known not to take his position as the Prince of Wales seriously, the King now has realised the importance as his duty as ruler of England. The king also realises the importance of ensuring the stability of England while fighting in France. The eventual decision to; "Divide your happy England into four Whereof take ... one quarter into France." ...read more.

Conclusion

The king opposes the opinion of Scroop, Cambridge and Gray, that any man who opposes the king should "be punished" by death. However, Henry is able to use the words of these three nobles against them when they are charged with "high treason". Shakespeare shows here that Henry has a good knowledge of fair trials because he realises that some crimes should be punished in a stronger way than others. To conclude, Shakespeare marks Henry's transformation from frivolous prince into noble king in numerous ways. The audience is shown that Henry is now aware that he can not stay in contact with people such as Falstaff, Nym, Pistol and Bardolph because they would not have a good influence on him. Also, the king has knowledge on the country's law, and is fair when punishing criminals. Henry is shown to know when he is being manipulated by people and is also aware that he should only go to war with France if he has a good reason to. These changes in Henry's personality would have shown the original audiences of "Henry V" that Henry was now what they considered to be a good "Christian king". ...read more.

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