Hero On the Rocks with a Splash of King.

Essay by jersuCollege, UndergraduateA-, November 2003

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Hero on the Rocks With a Splash of King

The hero, the one looked up to and respected above all others, the one who takes the darkest of days and makes them picnic-worthy. Often thought of as a savior, the hero is the one who comes through in the most desperate of times. According to Webster's Dictionary, a hero is a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability. Given this information, is one who relies on rhetoric and gifted speech eligible for this role? Can one save through words? In William Shakespeare's King Henry V, the concept of a rhetorical hero is well supported. The existence of the rhetorical hero is not impossible, but rather highly probable. What better way to win a war than to use one's mind and maximize outcome while minimizing physical battle, and therefore death.

King Henry V of England assumes the role of king after the death of his father, Henry IV.

Prior to his kingship, Henry is portrayed as a tavern boy devoid of responsibility who befriends a motley crew of drunks. After he acquires the throne, Henry's bishops convince him that it is his duty and right to take over France. Henry wages war on France with a badly outnumbered poor excuse of an army; however, Henry and the English ultimately prove victorious. It is his mastery of language that wins the war. Throughout the text, Henry utilizes prolific language to motivate his troops and intimidate the opponent.

Henry constantly uses his strong command of language to manipulate other characters in the text. Unlike more traditional heroes, like Beowulf and Hercules, Henry's source of great strength and ability lies not in his arm, but in his words. Nontraditional as he may be, Henry still satisfies the...