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IN WHAT WAYS DOES HENRY V INSPIRE HIS MEN BEFORE THE BATTLES AT HARFLEUR AND AGINCOURT? HOW WOULD THE PLAY HAVE APPEALED TO AN AUDIENCE OF 1599 AS WELL AS THOSE IN THE PRESENT DAY?

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Introduction

IN WHAT WAYS DOES HENRY V INSPIRE HIS MEN BEFORE THE BATTLES AT HARFLEUR AND AGINCOURT? HOW WOULD THE PLAY HAVE APPEALED TO AN AUDIENCE OF 1599 AS WELL AS THOSE IN THE PRESENT DAY? Henry V was written in 1599 by William Shakespeare and has remained famous until the present day. This historical play follows Henry V and his troops on their journey to conquer France. The play shows how Henry V inspires and motivates his troops ready for the battles of Harfleur and Agincourt. He inspires his troops by being a great King and a good example to his men. Also, I will discuss how Henry's rousing speeches convince his soldiers to fight for him. Another thing I will discuss is how Henry uses persuasive language, emotive language, imagery and flattery to motivate his troops before battle. In 1599 the people believed that the monarchy was in charge of the country and their power was given by God through the Church of England. However, on the other hand, today authority and power is given by parliament and political persuasion. In Henry's youth, before he became King, he was not a very good example to the people and not a very good prince. When the two churchmen, Ely and Canterbury, say "His companies unlettered, rude, and shallow, his hours filled up with riots, banquets, sports and never noted him in any study". ...read more.

Middle

At Henry's speech at Harfleur, Henry uses persuasive language to motivate his troops before battle. For example, he refers to his men as "dear friends". This shows his use of flattery by complementing his men; therefore, they fight for him. This acknowledges that Henry thinks of his men as friends not just soldiers. Another example of persuasive language which Henry uses in his Harfleur speech is alliteration. Henry says "Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood". Here the repeated letter S shows alliteration which is a persuasive technique. This adds rhythm to the speech, emphasising the importance of the battle, calling his men to be brave. Again, Henry uses persuasive language when he says "Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide, hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit to its full height". By saying this, Henry uses a persuasive technique called 'the rule of three'. This is three ideas put together and is very effective in this case because it motivates the troops and gets them fired up for battle. Henry is asking them to get angry and build up their adrenaline to succeed. More persuasion is used in Henry's speech before the battle of Harfleur by saying "Now attest that those whom you call'd your fathers did beget you". This means prove that the men you call your fathers did truly conceive you. ...read more.

Conclusion

This may be persuasive because it shows the men that they are loyal. It is a form of flattery because he complements the men for not going home and fleeing the battle. Also, this may persuade any of the men who were debating running away from the battle to do otherwise. The play is seen as a patriotic play. Lawrence Olivier performed the vole of Henry during world war two. This would have had a great impact on the audience who would see the pressure of going to war. In conclusion, Henry's rhetoric would have greatly inspired his men because over all he used lots of persuasive techniques and devices in both of his battle speeches. Henry's leadership skills are presented well and all the men pay attention to him and listen to what he has to say for they respect him in his position of King. Personally, my particular favourite part of the performance of which I watched was when the character of Pistol tried to steel some crowns from one of the French soldiers but because he couldn't speak the language, he failed in his attempt. This I found amusing and entertaining. If I were to present a production in today's society, I would present it at a small theatre such as the Octagon Theatre in Bolton where the audience are very close to the stage. The effect of this would draw the audience in and make it seem to them that they are a part of the production. ...read more.

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