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What Effects of language does Shakespeare use in Henry's main speeches to convince us that he was a just and heroic leader?

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What Effects of language does Shakespeare use in Henry's main speeches to convince us that he was a just and heroic leader? In England, the 16th century was a time renown for it's art, culture, and above all, it's kings. In that era, the king was the most influential figurehead in the country, closely followed by the church. Without a strong leader, the common people and nobles alike fell into disarray. Therefore, kings were expected to excel in certain qualities. A king was supposed to have confidence, in himself and in the way he rule, so he was able to assert his authority and keep his subjects loyal. A king also had to be intelligent to a certain extent. He had to be empathetic and understanding towards his subjects, but at the same time being just and decisive, making sure that he showed no weakness in the process. Although these were important qualities, the value of a king was not all about how he ruled. A king was expected to be inspiring, to carry himself with majesty and to be courageous. Kings were expected to be physically strong and battle worthy while being quick of wit and sharp of tongue. ...read more.


With this, Shakespeare uses a metaphor to make the concept of ceremony over inner peace easier to understand. This speech is written as a soliloquy, meaning it is the innermost thoughts of the character. I believe Shakespeare used this to express the doubts and complaints of Henry V without letting his subjects witness their king in a state of weakness, keeping his face of courage and confidence. In a battle, the morale of the troops can mean the upper hand, with a properly executed rally; soldiers will fight more ruthlessly and with strong resolve. Kings were expected to give such rallies to ensure victory. In Act 3 scene 1 at the battle of Harfleur, Henry uses such a rally to give his army to make the final push. "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, or close the wall up with our English dead". Shakespeare has started this in an interesting way. Along with repetition for emphasis, "once more in to the breach, dear friends, once more" creates a link of familiarity and comradeship between him and his subjects. Patriotism was a commonly used tool in rallying speeches. ...read more.


"When the blast of war blows in our ears, then imitate the action of the tiger, stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood and disguise fair nature with hard-favoured rage." Shakespeare uses alliteration with "stiffen the sinews" and metaphors to emphasize this point. In this speech, Shakespeare often uses bestial metaphors to convey an idea of how Henry is rallying his men. "Now set the teeth, and stretch the nostril wide, hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit to his full height". As well as conveying the idea that the English should fight with their inner beast, "Bend up every spirit to his full height" implies that the soldiers should battle to their full potential without holding back. In conclusion, I believe that Shakespeare's use of language in Henry's speeches is paramount to the image of justice and heroism intended. For rousing and invigorating speeches, Shakespeare uses strong metaphors and has Henry familiarise himself with those serving him to strike spirit into his men. In inspiring speeches, Shakespeare makes use of ways to make Henry seem selfless and courageous. Even in speeches that reveal the troubles and doubts of Henry, they are conveyed in a way hidden to his subjects, showing that he is a strong king and will hold his burdens while leading his country into victory. English Coursework John McCaw I.P.H Page 1 of 3 ...read more.

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