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King Henry the fifth, Noble hero or Devious brute?

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King Henry the fifth, Noble hero or Devious brute? Throughout the play, Henry shows a variety of character aspects and different emotions in each situation. These images of Henry have been developed over a trilogy of plays surrounding him and his family. King Henry IV tells of the young manhood of Henry as the Prince of Wales. It is very much based on henrys friendship with Falstaff and his journeys through life. It also ultimately ends with Henry's rejection of Falstaff when Henry is crowned king. These mood and demeanour changes are very frequent and can be used to paint a very vivid picture of Henry. The most frequently occurring images are of Henry as a Noble hero, and a Devious brute. In the opening act, we are treated to a side of Henry that is very noble in appearance but this changes as the play progresses. The objective of this essay is to decide whether King Henry is noble or devious. In the first scene, there are two bishops, Canterbury and Ely. They are discussing how they are scared of the fact that a bill is about to pass that will give the king control of their land. It would also require the church to give him money and control of knights and various other possessions that the church has. The two bishops begin talking about how the king used to be. ...read more.


This is a reference to the tennis balls and a declaration of war. In the letter, Henry makes the first of many threats of violence and cruel things that he will do to the French. The threats that Henry makes were very brutish and horrible He does not act noble in that section. Henry again makes similar threats during the siege of Harfleur (Act 3 Scene 4) but in the play he does not carry them out. This could be because he is noble and didn't actually intend to do any of those things, or it could be because the threats worked and they didn't need to be carried out. In which case Henry would be very devious whilst using threats of brutality. In Act 2 Scene 2, Lord Scroop of Masham, Richard, Earl of Cambridge and Gray, Knight of Northumberland all plotted to murder Henry at Southampton before he went to war. Lord Scroop was one of Henry's very close friends and when Henry found out about the plot, he felt deceived and used. In a meeting at which the conspirators were present, Henry began to talk about a man who had committed a crime and he began to discuss whether he should be let off or be hanged. The three traitors all said that mercy was not a good idea and when Henry presented them with death sentences, they all begged him for mercy, even though they said mercy was bad. ...read more.


Henry is again making terrible threats. This is not noble and will not do anyone any good. Henry is very brutish in the making of these threats and not very heroic. In the scenes building up to the war, Henry makes a series of motivational speeches to his men. These are very good, strong speeches that talk of pride and honour towards the British. They make Henry seem brave and fearless. In Act 4 Scene 1, Henry is very scared. He begins to talk about his doubts and fears to his two brothers, the Dukes of Gloucester and Bedford. After talking to them, he disguises himself and goes for a walk around his men's camp. He meets his old friend pistol, who does not recognise him and they begin talking. Henry does this to find out how his men feel about him and the war. He is put in a very difficult situation further in the scene as he meets some men who don't thing to highly of him. He is forced to hear their opinions of him and does not punish the men for their hatred. This is very noble of him. He has spoken to some men who don't like him and who have insulted him yet he did nothing about it. He just listened and defended 'The King' where he could. In Act 4 Scene 3, Henry makes a motivational speech at the beginning of the Battle of Agincourt. This speech is both for his men and self-reassurance. ...read more.

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