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'Henry V constantly refuses to accept responsibility for his actions. He has yet to mature and shows no understanding about the true nature of kingship'. How far do you agree with this judgment of Henry?

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Introduction

'Henry V constantly refuses to accept responsibility for his actions. He has yet to mature and shows no understanding about the true nature of kingship'. How far do you agree with this judgment of Henry? By the end of 'Henry V', Henry seems to be a transformed person. From a king who is being manipulated from all sides, he leads his country to win a seemingly impossible war against France. On the other hand, this does not mean that he is a model king because there are many instances in the play when he shows that his real character is contrary to this. Once the war starts, Henry does not regret his decision to go to war and more importantly; accepts that it was his own decision that England is now at war. This is shown in Act 3, Scene 1 where Henry is motivating his army by saying things like "Stiffen the sinews, conjure up the blood" and "Cry, 'God for Harry, England and Saint George!'". Here, he is trying to improve the performance of his army and increasing their morale at the same time. ...read more.

Middle

By doing this, he is maturing because he has realised that a king has the majority influence on people rather than doing less. Conversely, his speech could also be taken from a different angle. It is almost as if he is resigned to the fact that they are going to lose the battle so he is making a last ditch effort to do whatever he can which will enhance his chances of winning the war. By making a speech that is personal, for example saying "we band of brothers" and by increasing the honour and rewards of winning, he is already ensuring that his army are geared up for a war. This shows that he is not trying hard enough to act like a king and to maximise his chances of winning. In Act 4, Scene 6, when the innocent English are found dead, Henry is rightly angry. In fact, he says "I was not angry since I came to France until this instant". At this time he is controlling his anger, unlike in the first act when he declares war just because he is angered by the Dauphin's present. ...read more.

Conclusion

When he is reading out how many are killed in the battle, he does not rejoice at the lack of English casualties. Even after Exeter tells him "'Tis wonderful", Henry stays modest and instead tells Exeter that the praise is "His (God's) only". This shows great kingship and maturity because he is restricting celebrations. This means that he has taken into consideration that the French are saddened by their big losses and does not want to taunt the French. Ultimately, I think that by the end of the play, Henry has cleared most of his negative attributes and has replaced them with many more positive ones. From the beginning of the play Henry shows his potential a few times, for example when he is questioning the traitors, he uses a good mix of personal emotions and a tough punishment. He is able to win a war because he realises that a king must do much more than just do what the people underneath him want to happen, instead it is much more about using your own skills and showing good leadership. ?? ?? ?? ?? Coursework ...read more.

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