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Examine The 6 Chorus Speeches From Henry V And Discuss The Dramatic Purposes Which They Fulfil.

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Introduction

Examine The 6 Chorus Speeches From Henry V And Discuss The Dramatic Purposes Which They Fulfil. In Henry V, Shakespeare uses a chorus. A chorus is a dramatic device a playwright uses. In Greek drama the chorus is a group of actors who comment on the action in choral unison separating the play's episodes. However, in Henry V, the chorus refers to a single character that appears, as needed, for narrative purposes, for instance speaking the prologue and epilogue. This actor is within the play's action, but largely separated from it as well, this allows them to express comments that characters within the play are prohibited from doing. It allows them to aid and guide the audience throughout the play. A chorus would also be useful for Shakespeare as Henry V would be preformed on a thrust stage, which means minimal stage furniture and props would be used therefore he can dramatise in the limitations of the stage to make an epic production. Also there was no technical lighting and sound. Therefore a chorus is helpful in expressing these limitations, which is very important in a play of such epic proportion such as Henry V. Shakespeare uses the chorus to bridge gaps, set the mood/scene, show the un-show able and to glorify England. Shakespeare uses the chorus; to open each of the play's five acts. Each of the speeches has a different function and dramatic purpose to fulfil. The play begins with a prologue spoken by the chorus. The main purpose of this prologue is to apologize to the audience of the limitations of the play to follow, and to build up the suspense and get the audience excited by the scale of the production. The chorus begins: 'O for a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention.' This states that the chorus seeks the inspiration to produce the greatest poetry. ...read more.

Middle

By defining the fleet or ships as 'You stand upon the ravage and behold A city on th'inconstant billows dancing, For so appears this fleet majestical.' Using this sentence for portrayal Shakespeare explains to the audience the visual picture they should be imagining in their minds. The audience will be able to visualize themselves on the shore of a beach observing the fleet. Shakespeare's concludes the image of the ships is that of one like a city on irregular waves, and the sound of the billows therefore he has completely set the scene for the audience. Describing the ships as 'a city' shows the audience the scale of the fleet and the amount of men aboard these boats. Also he illustrates the ships as being 'majestical' which means royal and stately the audience will concoct the idea of how this fleet of ships is no normal boring fleet. In addition to the crossing of the channel the chorus adds another section of the story to his speech. The reason for adding this is not to show the un-showable but simply as he believes the audience does not need to see this scene acted out but to just understand what happens. 'The king doth offer him Katherine his daughter, and with her, to dowry, Some petty and unprofitable dukedoms.' This is all that Shakespeare feels he needs to explain to the audience as they will understand without the need of acting. 'The offer likes not; and the nimble gunner With linstock now the devilish cannon touches.' With the next chorus Shakespeare uses it to describe the scene in the French and English camps the night before the battle. The chorus is able to describe the scene using a different outlook than any of the characters within the play can do. It gives a view that mirrors the ones of the men in the camp but the chorus will allow the audience to understand it and imagine it with the adjectives and imagery that Shakespeare uses. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also the audience will respect the actions of Henry V as he will seem more accomplished than of his son. The audience knows this is the end of the play when the chorus sums up: 'Thus far, with rough and all-unable pen, Our bending author hath pursued the story.' Once again there is an apology of the limitations of the play: 'In little room confining mighty men, Mangling by starts the full course of their glory.' This epilogue also creates freedom from time allowing the audience to catch up and rest from the epic adventure that had just filled and taken over their minds. In conclusion, Shakespeare uses the Chorus to initiate the play and summarizes each act to the audience before the next one begins. It is merely a tool to avoid the audience getting too confused. The function for the chorus is a practical one, by summarizing the plot at every available opportunity; there is little chance for confusion, even if the audience do have to use their imagination. The chorus is a reliable source to the audience engaging them between the acts. The repetition of the apologies ensures the audience understands the limitations that Shakespeare has. Each chorus does different things throughtout the olay. They form a link between the audience and the players, this occurs when the chorus constantly apologizes for the inadequacies of the stage and when asking the audience to use their imaginations. They chorus is also used by Shakespeare to bridge gaps. When a section of the play is not possible to dramatize Shakespeare wisely using the advantage of the chorus to implant the scene in the audiences mind. Also when the chorus comes to speak the audience are suddenly dragged back down to earth and reminded of where and when they are, this allows the play to seem significant in comparison. Overall Shakespeare benefits from using a chorus to help keep the audience in track with the play. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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