• 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


    is a very graphic, gruesome line that is a lot more than just a threat. Although Henry is still seen in a god light because he gives them a chance, they know what he will do if they dot open up.

  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. 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. Focusing on the traitor scene: Act II Scene II, How does Shakespeare portray Henry?

    I flicked my head around, was someone shining a light? Of course not, the library was always empty six in the morning. Gently easing open the book, I found myself unable to even glance at the words on the page.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  1. Henry V in Act 1 and 2

    When they appeal for his mercy he says: "The mercy that was quick in us but late by your own counsel is suppressed and killed." In this sentence Henry is saying that he would be merciful with them but because of their ruling earlier he will not.

  2. How does Shakespeare use language to entertain and motivate in Act 3, scene 1 ...

    The greater therefore should our courage be. Good morrow, brother Bedford." This shows unity and brotherhood, which motivates the audience by creating a sense of comrade spirit. In the different versions of the original play, Olivier's film and Branaugh's film, they are all a product of the different historical times in which the play was written, and the films produced.

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