Henry V is primarily concerned with war and the glory of war, we can learn little else from the study of this play. 'Discuss'.
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Henry V is primarily concerned with war and the glory of war, we can learn little else from the study of this play. 'Discuss' I neither agree nor disagree with the statement 'Henry V is primarily concerned with war and the glory of war, we can learn a little else from the study of this play'. The play is set in and around warm so obviously war features heavily in it, however there are other topics included in this play for instance; religion, history, law, relationships, kingship and leadership and through analysing the play we can learn about these. 'Henry V' is a play about war. In it we see the two aspects of war. Henry sees war as a way of gaining glory and honor however if he is not completely oblivious to the reality of war, he acknowledges openly and honestly that people will die in Act 1 Scene 2 when he says that, "many now in health shall drop their blood in approbation." He also, in Act 3, Scene 4 reveals the true horrors of war when describing to the governor of Harfluer what will happen to the people if they do not surrender. He speaks of burning the town down and how his soldiers, out of control, will rape their daughters, kill their fathers and put their "naked infants spitted upon pikes".
He also says that his horse is his mistress, showing he is more concerned with his horse than the war. He is very complacent and arrogant, he boasts and is confident that the French will win the war, he is so sure that he thinks it an unfair match and considers sending the English 'dinners and fresh suits' and their 'fasting horses provender'. The Dauphin does not talk to his men directly; he does not live in the same conditions as them, instead he treat them as inferiors and invaluable. The two kings contrasting tactics on leadership go head to head when Henry and his army take on the French and despite the odds being staked against them, the English are victorious. This proves that Henry is the better leader and therefore Henry's tactics were successful and we can learn from them. The two leaders relationships with their men is demonstrated again when, after the battle the French ask for permission to 'sort our nobles from our common men. For many of our princes... lie drowned and soaked in mercenary blood', an example of strong language and visual imagery, to demonstrate their arrogance and snobbishness. Henry however is mourning the loss of his men and carrying them himself back to give them a proper Christian burial as he says 'Let...
Leading on from this, we also learn about relationships, the play shows that the English army were, despite a few quarrels, very close. The French nobles however did not always get on. The relationship between Katherine and Henry is also interesting as though they do not know each other, are betrothed because it will bring peace between the two countries, this shows that marriages were made often for status and benefit, not for love. The plot of 'Henry V' revolves around the war between England and France in the time of Henry V. Therefore is can be expected that war should be one of the main themes and it is in fact the main subject so the first part of the statement ' 'Henry V' is primarily considered with war' is true. However it would be narrow-minded to say that 'we can learn little else from the study of this play' as throughout it there are several other themes that can be explored and valuable insights are given, particularly on the subject of leadership Therefore I conclude that Henry V is primarily concerned with war but we can learn a lot about other subjects through the study of the play as there are other important aspects to war than just fighting and so through the feature of these aspects on warfare, we can learn about them as a whole. Word Count: 1048 Rowan Lovegrove-Fielden
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