• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How Helpful To The Audience Is The Chorus in Shakespeare's 'Henry V'

Extracts from this document...


Coursework By Thomas Stevenson Henry V written by William Shakespeare in 1596-1599 is a play about heroism, conquerors, and the power the monarch of England possesses. King Henry V was king of England from 1413 till 1422; Henry was, and possibly is still, seen as one of the greatest kings in history. Shakespeare's play does not just entertain the Elizabethans; he uses Henry V to replace any doubt about the reigning monarch with complete trust. In this play, like his others, Shakespeare uses a number of devices and fluent language to perform the play with depth and insight into the life of war and it's leaders. One device Shakespeare uses is the Chorus with its intentions to help the audience and add dramatic effects to the play. Shakespeare uses the Chorus in Henry V as a key role that leads the play forward. The Chorus appears between the Acts and at the start and end of the play. It is played by the only actor who speaks directly to the audience and breaks the so-called "Fourth Wall: " "Can this cockpit hold the vasty fields of France? ...read more.


Although the audience would be expecting a scene with Henry V at the docks in Southampton, they get a lighter scene with three low-life characters and a prostitute. The Chorus also sets the scene in Act 4, in Agincourt, "...do the low-rated English play at dice..." the Chorus injects its own opinion into the phrase, explaining the wounded English are not playing the odds and are risking a great deal. If the Chorus did not set the scene, the audience's imagination would not be able to follow the play due to the reasons explained before; and to set the mood makes it easier for the audience to transition into the next scene. The previous quotation also educates the audience about the circumstances in the play in explaining the French have every the chance to bring the English down. The Chorus does this in every appearance, the Prologue explains about "...the warlike Harry..." and how he is raring to attack the French. In Act 2 it explains about the French and how they are "...advised by good intelligence..." yet have the "...most dreadful preparation..." trying "...to divert the English purposes..." ...read more.


Therefore, King Henry V also needed one; however Act 5, Scene 2 ends with Henry marrying Katherine of France. Yes, it is a conclusion to the fighting but not a conclusion to the play. That is why Shakespeare created an epilogue for the Chorus to finish the play. The Chorus explains of the play writer's hard work and uses a slightly less descriptive language to end the story "... in your fair minds." Shakespeare uses the Chorus to sum up the play as a type of explanation of the history or future of the play. In my opinion the best way to finish a long play, and is also very useful to the audience to have such an ending. Speaking some of Shakespeare's superbly written soliloquies, elegant language, and bright metaphors the Chorus, most certainly plays the vital role of Henry V. Shakespeare wrote sonnets and plays starting first in 1589 and finally finishing 1611. He created the Chorus for many reasons but in the end it was placed in between the Acts of King Henry V to help the audience with working out the complications that the Tudors could not show on the stage unlike our modern day plays. Without the Chorus in this play on its first production, it would have been a disaster to watch and understand. Tom Stevenson 5 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Henry V section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Henry V essays

  1. Henry V Speech Analysis

    therefore this is a very severe threat to the French and they know that Henry is serious about these threats as one like this would not be made idly. "Your naked infants spitted upon pikes," Henry knew that there had been many rumours in the French town about what the English would do if they got into Harfleur.

  2. Shakespeare's Henry V

    He mentions "Pheobus", "Elysium" and "Hyperion" which are all taken from classical mythology, this helps with the imagery. Henry says that the ordinary man has a better like than he does -"Had the forehand and vantage of a King." This is because, as he says at the beginning of the

  1. Is Henry V an ideal Christian king?

    The image of the tiger is used by Henry as it is believed to symbolise courage, strength and battle-spirit, all of which will be essential if Harfleur is to be captured. Henry also creates naval war imagery with the action of overwhelming Harfleur before taking it is compared to a

  2. Henry V Coursework

    it off" From the very beginning of "Henry V", Shakespeare portrays Henry as a strong and competent ruler, well liked by his people. His early speeches are short and to the point and he commands the approval of all his advisors.

  1. How does Henry demonstrate his skills as an orator in his speeches at Farfleur ...

    He tells them that they have nothing to lose by saying "Or close the wall up with our English dead". In doing this it tells all his men that they can either fight to succeed or not fight and die and become a wall to protect the rest.

  2. Consider the different ways in which war is presented in Henry V.

    The Elizabethan audience would have a great amount of respect for Henry, simply because he is a King.

  1. In Henry IV Part 1, the transformation of Hal is central to Shakespeares presentation ...

    Hal defends himself, saying that although he is not innocent, the stories about him have been exaggerated. His father is not convinced, reminding his son that his behaviour has led to his place in the council being removed and his brother replacing him as next in line to the throne,

  2. How does Shakespeare show the qualities of kingship in Henry V

    This is because what he has done is take a calculated risk. He is aware that no one has the guts to leave as too much pride is at stake. They have also bee informed of the bounties that are sure to follow this war if all goes well.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work