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Shakespeare Coursework - Henry V

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Shakespeare Coursework - Henry V In Henry, how does Shakespeare avoid "much disgrace with four or five most vile and ragged foils. Right ill disposed in brawl ridiculous" in depicting the Battle of Agincourt on the Elizabethan stage. As the play commences, William Shakespeare has to depict a fight scene at the Battle of Agincourt. When one considers the time period it would have been rather difficult to perform these scenes. This is also due to the fact that Elizabethan stages did not have the use of advanced special effects and consequently they were very basic. The Elizabethan theatre used no real sets and only the most essential set pieces and props. Shakespeare had to find various ways to portray the story and he mainly focused on the acting rather than the props. As it was impossible for Shakespeare to create a real life battle scene, the Chorus apologises for this in the prologue, "Oh, pardon: since a crooked figure may attest in little place a million, and let us, ciphers to this great account, on your imaginary forces work." ...read more.


This creates dramatic irony as the audience knows that the King is in disguise, however the characters do not. In particular, King Henry's old friend Pistol does not recognise him and he is confused with who this 'ordinary soldier' is, "art thou officer or art thou base, common and popular?" This creates comedy or light relief and brings a more optimistic mood to the play, before the bleak battle. However, the mood of the scene is soon lowered when Henry meets three commonplace soldiers; Williams, Bates and Court. They speak of how they believe they are going to die, and how they feel as if they are insignificant to the King, "Ay, he said so, to make us fight cheerfully, but when our throats are cut, he may be ransomed, and we ne'er the wiser." At this point, they did not know that the soldier they have met is the King. This creates tension between the regular soldiers and the King; however it also creates sympathy towards the ordinary soldiers. Finally, in the closing stages of the scene, King Henry is desperately praying to God for victory over France. ...read more.


However, King Henry does not only want to fight for his personal pride but he wants to fight for his country. In addition, he believes that his purpose in life is to win, because God encouraged him to do so. We soon learn that England won the Battle of Agincourt, even though they were outnumbered at a ratio of 5:1. Shakespeare writes about how the French Nobles' reactions differ highly from their attitude in Scene 2. They experienced hubris as they were originally overconfident and then they 'fell down at the last hurdle' because they lost the battle. This was humiliating for the French as they had lost, thousands of soldiers were killed and they had lost their sense of superiority. In conclusion, I believe that Shakespeare's use of language and various techniques made the play successful. He realised that he could not portray the fight scene realistically and therefore decided to show it in a comical way. He uses the Chorus to communicate with the audience, often telling them to use their imaginations, which made each member of the audience feel more involved in the play. In this time period, special effects were not available because the technology had not been invented and therefore Shakespeare depicted the play well. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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