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

Shakespeare's Henry V

Extracts from this document...


Analyse Shakespeare's presentation of King Henry throughout the course of the play King Henry is the eponymous protagonist of the play 'Henry VI'. Shakespeare uses exposition at the very beginning of the play via the Chorus in the Prologue to give the audience clues of Henry's character, describing him as "Warlike Harry..., assume the port of Mars," Mars, being the God of War, therefore gives the audience the immediate impression that Henry is a mighty warrior. Exposition is also used in Act 1 Scene 1 via the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Ely. They tell the audience how Henry has grown from the wild youth of Prince Hal in 'Henry IV Parts I and II' into King Henry. From this section we learn many of Henry's characteristics. They describe him as a politician, "Hear him debate of commonwealth affairs," also as a tactful warrior, "List his decourse of War." Therefore in the opening lines of the play - the audience have a specific idea of what to expect when Henry enters. The audience is given the impression that Henry is a strong warrior by the Chorus in the Prologue. This goes on to become on the main aspects of Henry's character throughout the rest of the play. ...read more.


They greatly underestimate Henry and do no realise that he has changed. We can see other ways Henry has been presented as a King in other interpretations of the play, for example Kenneth Branagh's 1989 film adaptation. In the film, Henry is often dressed in bright colours and expensive materials and wearing a crown. Also, when making speeches he is usually on a horse or standing on something that raises him up. This shows his higher status. Another aspect of Henry that is presented throughout the play is his role as a politician. We mainly see this in the first and last scenes of the play. In Act 1 Scene 2 Henry is extremely concerned about the laws in France, "why the Salic law that they have in France or should or should not bar us in our claim." He wants to ensure that he has a just cause to go to war with France and makes Canterbury go into great detail about the laws. The inevitable outcome of the war was that King Henry conquered France. We see in Act 5 Scene 2 that Henry has drawn up a Peace Treaty. Although they are in France, in the French Kings palace in Troyes, Henry is very much in control of the proceedings. ...read more.


Here Shakespeare is telling the audience that Henry is just a man and feels fear like any other man. He goes on to say that Henry has to hide his fear otherwise is would dishearten his army. Henry is also presented by his love for Katherine. In Act 5 Scene 2 we see all Henry's harsh, warrior characteristics melt away as he becomes quite romantic. During this scene he affectionately shortens her name to "Kate" and flatters her throughout. He humbles himself as he tries to speak French to her. Towards the end of the scene he kisses her. Followed by - "You have witchcraft in your lips, Kate." He is spell-bound by his love for her. This shows us that even though he has huge responsibility as King and must be strong and brave as a warrior, he is still able to feel love. Throughout the course of the play Shakespeare employs many techniques to present Henry. Shakespeare presents him as a strong King, warrior and politician. But despite being constantly compared to Gods and famous historical warriors, Shakespeare presents Henry as an actual human being. Throughout the play we see Henry's inner-most thought and feelings, his hopes and fears. Shakespeare's presentation of Henry's emotions show that he is just an ordinary man, this helps the audience connect with Henry as they can relate to him. Subsequently, he audience feels more involved with the play. ...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. What makes Henry V such an effective leader?

    The King henceforth punishes them exactly the way they dictated, by handing them their death warrant. This game shows the Kings intelligence, and is also another example of his witty side. Henry shows here hostility against his enemy, but towards his loyal subjects Henry is very caring.

  2. Henry V Speech Analysis

    As the citizens had no idea as to the true numbers of the English army they would believe Henry's every word. "Defy us to our worst;" Shakespeare uses monosyllabic stresses to create emphasis, this would instil fear from Henry's words.

  1. A comparison of William Faulkners "A Rose For Emily" and Louise Erdrich's "Red Convertible".

    Although, not instantaneously, Henry did take notice. The aura of sadness which once surrounded him, consumed him, had been lifted. His thoughts became more clear and focused, on the red convertible, of course. To fix it back to the condition as it used to be.

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

    "Now all the youth of England are on fire..." gives the Act 2 Chorus an aggressive tone to start. This helps the audience because in the Elizabethan time they had no set to help the imagination to understand where they were.

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

    He fought his first battle at the age of fourteen and at the age of sixteen he commanded his fathers army at the battle of Shrewsbury. In 1415 Henry proposed to marry Catherine, also demanding for the old Plantagenet lands of Normandy and Anjou as his dowry.

  2. Is Henry V an ideal Christian king?

    Together these suggest that the war will almost be like a game of tennis in France where the English give the French a royal thrashing. In the second part of the speech [lines 268-298] the language changes from that of a game of tennis to that of war and misery.

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

    overpower England - but it is also referring to the whole situation. Henry shows his angst to the Scots in this line, possibly calling them the "coursing snatchers." Henry also comments about dogs when he is making his famous war speech to his men, "I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips, straining upon the start.

  2. King Henry the fifth, Noble hero or Devious brute?

    By saying those things, Henry allowed the traitors to make their situation worse. In this scene, Henry is very deceptive and devious, even to an old friend. This is the same with many friends and acquaintances of Henrys as mentioned in Henry IV.

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