Henry v: what qualities made them the greatest hero-king in english history

Essay by wruz6High School, 11th gradeA+, February 2005

download word file, 6 pages 4.3

In Shakespeare's Henry V, Shakespeare presents what he portrays as the ideal king. Henry is what could be defined as the ultimate hero. The story of Henry V epitomizes England's idea of a good and fair king. Henry even calls his fellow soldiers his "brothers" to further emphasize the importance of a fair and humble king. He sets the precedent for the need for moral values and justifications in all people, especially a ruler of a country. Shakespeare has portrayed Henry as the archetype for future English kings and the values they should hold.

To see how Henry V is an ideal hero-king, it is first essential to define the characteristics of one. Essentially, what makes up a great king are three fundamental elements: nobility, humility, and strength. Nobility, though concise in name, covers a vast number of characteristics. An important part of nobility is morality. A good king has good morals, but an excellent king adheres to his morals and can use them as a foundation to the way he rules.

Furthermore, nobility encompasses kindness and forgiveness, for a king cannot be cold and ruthless without reason. Humility, though it may not seem to be at the foremost of a great king's qualities, Henry makes excellent use of this. The English people see a king that is not so distant from them, and they realize that they, too, can be like their king because, in the end, the king is only human. Finally, strength is the most obvious, most basic necessity for the ideal hero-king. If a king does not have the leadership and the courage to rally his men and charge into battle, no one would think highly of him. A weak king results in civil destruction, for there are always rebellious factions that need to be kept...