William Shakespeare's Henry V

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William Shakespeare's Henry V

William Shakespeare is one of the most famous and influential writers

of all time. His plays not only portray the past, but also aspects of

love and hate, humour and tragedy.

Henry V, written by Shakespeare, using Raphael Holinshed's historical

chronicles, appealed to many of the citizens of that time, as it

presented an insight into their country's past, as well as 'feel-good'

nationalism. It would have been performed on stage at a time when

Henry VIII had secluded the country of all contact with the Church of

Rome. Providing the audience with its country's past glories and

triumphs, the play counter-acts this feeling of seclusion and loss of

identity with glorified achievement and renewal of patriotism.

Henry V continues Shakespeare's series of historic plays; it follows

Henry IV and is the predecessor to Henry VI. In Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2,

the audience is introduced to Henry V. Henry is young and considered

'wild' as his days were spent in the 'Boars Head' among the likes of

his dear friend, and father-figure, Sir John Falstaff, and the other

members of the 'Eastcheap Mob' (Henry's 'greener days' are later

referred to and mocked at by the French Dauphin). Once crowned King,

these days, as well as the people who shared them with Henry, are

quickly forgotten, and Falstaff soon dies of a 'broken heart', due to

the disownment his 'son-figure' has pursued. We soon see the change,

and it is evidential that it is for the better, later on in the play

when we witness Henry go to war with France. Not only is Henry filled

with confidence and fuelled by ambition; he has also gained the

ability to grasp th...

... middle of paper ...

...lefields isn't the same as courage in the


To conclude, one is manipulated to believe that Henry V was a great

man and King, whose principals are strongly religious and are just and

fair. However, one must acknowledge that Henry V, as it has been

presented, is a creation, an adaptation of what Raphael Holinshed

researched and of what William Shakespeare interpreted Henry to be

like, or to what an ideal king should consist of. Further more, Henry,

as Shakespeare viewed him, was a true star of England, who did give

great, inspirational speeches to persuade his army, who did woo

Katherine, and who did choose his responsibilities over friendship.

However, the true Henry lies in Shakespeare. Shakespeare is the

creator, the puppeteer; Shakespeare is the man who wrote the speeches,

it was he who wooed Katherine.
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