Shakespear's 'Henry V'- "An exploration of how Shakespere presents Henry as a king and as a man."

Essay by BridgoHigh School, 12th gradeB-, December 2003

download word file, 5 pages 3.0

In this play, Shakespeare wants to show us the different aspects of Henry's character. The main question is if Henry was better at being a king, dealing with issues from a political perspective and relating it to the

approach to leadership, or at being merely a man, concentrating on friends and family.

A solution to the questions of kingship raised in thisplay is given by the fact that when Shakespeare was alive, during the Elizabethan times, there was a very particular idea of what it meant to be a king. In simple terms, the man who could cope with all the demands laid upon him by public office.

For Shakespeare and his audience, it would be Henry IV that portrayed all the necessary qualities to be a king and seemed to avoid all the weaknesses of temperament. He was not, however, the ideal king, as his power was crippled by the fact that he had usurped the throne and lived under threat from the nobles who had originally helped him.

This ate away at his confidence and made him into quite a cunning person. Henry V, though, started out as a young man who no one respected, because he did not accept any responsibilities. He then, however, ended up becoming a better king than his father.

It was made clear, at the beginning of the play, the kind of regard shown to him when he was given a 'gift'. This was a chest of tennis balls sent to Henry by the French prince and delivered by the Dauphin. (It was a fashionable game for young men in those days but not a game suitable for a worthy king.) Henry's speech in reply to this insult was witty, full of double entendre, sarcasm, and harsh words mocking the French.