An analysis of Henry V

Essay by filloCollege, UndergraduateA, March 2014

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To our knowledge, Henry V was one of the best kings in British History. His great rise to power was used for posterity in the William Shakespeare's epic writings in the play, named after the king, Henry V. Although it is simply just a play, the story played out by Shakespeare is remarkably close the historical accuracy. Through the course the play, we are able to see the evolution of Henry from a young rambunctious boy to a powerful man who transformed into the prevailing monarch. The reader is taken from the period of time shortly after Henry assumes power to his greatest achievement, victory of France. Charisma, the quality or power that is possessed by an individual that gives them the ability to influence or inspire a larger group of people is definitely a quality Henry V held. The play presents many undeniable examples of Henry's charismatic leadership, The Saint Crispian's day speech being one of them.

Hungry, tired, and sick with discouragement in the middle of a retreat to England, the French at Agincourt encountered Henry's army. The British were vastly outnumbered, by at least three to one. Expected to retreat or surrender by his cousin Westmoreland, Henry gave an inspiring speech, relying on his charisma, which challenged the men to run headlong into certain death. Henry states,

"If we are mark'd to die, we are enow

To do our country loss; and if to live,

The fewer men, the greater share of honour.

God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more."

Henry's motivational speech addressed valor, kinship, and the glory that all his men would receive. At the end of the play, partly due to the inspiration provided by Henry's charismatic leadership, and partly due to the improved fighting capabilities of the English army, Henry...