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. It says that when "The breath no sooner left his father's body

But that his wildness, mortified in him, seemed to die too"

This shows the audience a first glimpse of how Henry used to act. Henry used to be an unruly, uneducated child, and has now matured and become a real king. The bishops feel that that change has occurred for the good and now they really respect their king and trust in his abilities. This could also be perceived as fear and anxiety on the parts of the bishops as now that Henry is king, he has become mature and independent. He may now be immune to influence from the church. The sudden change in Henry also shows that he is very unpredictable and no one will know where his trust lies.

In Act 1 scene 2, Henry speaks his first word. It is in this scene that Henry becomes aware of the claim he legally has to the French throne. When he is told this news, he is very inquisitive and begins to question the legality of this claim. Lord Canterbury begins a speech that was meant to reassure Henry that his claim was very legal and he would not need to kill anyone without cause. The speech that Canterbury makes is very passionate and helps the audience to understand the extent of which Canterbury wants and needs Henry to go to war. It could also be viewed as desperate as Canterbury may be trying to swamp the king with information so that he has no choice but to believe what they are saying. So far, Henry has made a noble impression but if he is already a ruler of England, why would he need France as well.
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The next important event in this scene is the introduction of the first French character, the ambassador to England. The ambassador has a message to Henry from The Dauphin (The Prince of France). The message is very insulting to Henry and a 'gift' of tennis balls is sent with the message. Upon receiving the gift and the message, Henry begins a speech. The Speech is very sarcastic and angry and it informs the Ambassador that Henry intends to "play a set." This is a reference to the tennis balls and a declaration of war.

In the ...

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