Henry: An Ideal Monarch? Essay

Henry: An Ideal Monarch? Essay

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Henry: An Ideal Monarch?

In the 1590s, there was a very strict ideal of a Monarch. The way an
ideal Monarch would be viewed in the 1590s was not far removed from
the expectations of a King in the early 15th century. A 15th or 16th
century King was expected to be a competent ruler above anything else,
but far more was needed to lead the people of Medieval Briton.

The role of the king in society progressed and differed throughout the
middle ages, with the introduction of bureaucracy towards the end of
the period and a gradual detachment from the Roman empire. Many of the
king's duties remained consistent though; a king must be completely
devout and devoted to the church and to God.

The loyalty of a monarch's subjects was also imperative. The support
of the bishops and the clergy was vital for a ruler, equally the
support of the nobility and warlords of the country. Much potential
power also lay in the serfs and peasants and a good king would aim to
please even their most humble servant and an ideal king of this period
would inspire patriotism and confidence in every one of his people. An
ideal king would invoke serenity, when a time of peace was necessary,
would encourage hard labour when the economy was bad, but most
importantly: the ideal king would generate belligerence in his people
at a time of war. To be able do to this, a king must have certain
characteristics. These characteristics would motivate the confidence
of the nation.

Some of the necessary characteristics: Bravery, charisma, chivalry,
aptitude, knowledge and loyalty to the country and to god.

Shakespeare wrote 'Henry V' in the 1590s. At this time, Elizabeth I...


... middle of paper ...


...kespeare portrays him as. Certainly, in the modern
world, some of Henry' actions may be seen as craven and selfish.

In act 5, scene 7, the British hear that the French have murdered
innocent British civilians. This would be seen as an outrage. In
truth, it was Henry who ordered his archers to slay hundreds of French
Prisoners lest they revolt.

Henry orders Bardolph to be killed for stealing a pax from a French
church, Bardolph is Henry's former friend, but now Henry treats him as
a mere peasant. He has turned his back on Bardolph. Maybe, this
represents Henry turning his back on his past and the working class
background that he used to know. As he has risen in nobility and
class, he no longer has time to accept the working-class and is
prejudiced against it. This is certainly not the behaviour of an ideal
king.

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