Treaty Between Britain and France in The Life of King Henry V by William Shakespeare

Treaty Between Britain and France in The Life of King Henry V by William Shakespeare

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In Shakespeare’s “The Life of King Henry V,” set in England in the early fifteenth century, with the famous and heroic English King, Henry V, claiming his “rights” to the French throne. This claim caused complications and the declaration of war on both English and French soil. This political war, then turn into a route of complicated negotiations, after King Henry’s terrifying forces had successfully defeated French forces. As the result of the war, a peace treaty was made, and part of that agreement was the marriage between King Henry V and the daughter of the King of France, Katherine of Valois. An analysis of the both King Henry’s and Katherine’s relationship reveals that both had conflicting perspectives of one another, which resulted as a marriage in political unions of two powerful nations rather than a union of two lovers.
Throughout history, especially in the fifteenth century, it was extremely rare for a woman to choose her husband. The majority of marriages were planned by the head of the household, which was usually the father of the bride or groom. The purposes of these marriages were to gain power and social standings. This in turn also provided the chance for the heirs of the marriages to have possession of power, territory/land, and a set social standard for the family for all future heirs. This was more of a benefit for the men than the women, for the men could own territories and be the head of the household, women could not. Instead, a woman’s obligation was to fulfill their family’s jurisdiction in their future.
With that case of using marriage as a tool, it is seen in “Henry V” clearly. The personality of King Henry evolves with the idea of marriage, was rather remarkable. Even though in the beginning of Act ...


... middle of paper ...


... and the tetralogy.
The marriage between King Henry and Katherine is nothing more than just a medieval political union that brought succession and power in Europe. It seems that Shakespeare played with the interpretation of what’s personal and political involving a person’s union or marriage as the case may be. It can be seen as the personal evolves the political, and then the political evolves the personal. Shakespeare successfully acknowledge the portrayal of marriage in a meaningful characterizations. Both King Henry and Katherine has their own separate point-of-views from two different cultures and way of living, towards conflicts such as power struggles they had in that particular era.



Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. Mowat, Barbara A. Werstine, Paul. The Life of King Henry
V (Folger Shakespeare Library). Washington: Washington Square Press, 2001. Print.

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