How Shakespeare Portrays the Character of the King in William Shakespeare's Henry V
By writing this play, Shakespeare was hoping to inspire the people of
England because at that time there was a possible threat of war from
Spain or Ireland. He was trying to create the feeling of patriotism so
writing about Henry was a good idea because he was the epitome of a
brave, courageous king. He was able to inspire his men to great
victories such as the Battle of Agincourt, where the English won
against the odds. Many of the English were tired, fatigued before the
battle and they were up against the best French knights. This play was
made into a film during the Second World War to inspire the British
against the Nazis. You could say it was propaganda because it was
trying to promote the governments view.
In the prologue it's basically apologising because it is not possible
to produce the atmosphere of the great battles in the play. So the
audience is asked to be imaginative in order to behold the events of
the play, transferred from a vast battlefield to the theatre. The
chorus sets the scene for the rest of the story.
The prologue is also written to glorify King Henry. It suggests that
he is powerful and successful by saying 'Then should the warlike
Harry, like himself, assume the port of Mars'. This alerts us to some
of the play's most powerful war themes. Harry (or Henry) is likened to
the Roman god of War, Mars. This immediately paints a picture of a
great warrior in our mind and suggests that he is God-like.
Henry is said to have total control over what he does and brings.
'(Leashed in, like hounds) should famine, sword and fire crouch for
employment'. Shakespeare uses personification here by bringing the
three aspects mentioned in the quotation to life. He says that Henry
controls them like a man controlling his hound. Shakespeare continues
this further by saying that they crouch at his side waiting for his
command. Henry knows what his actions will bring. It suggests that
Henry has the power to control the effects of war.
At this time the Church was in some of trouble. Canterbury tells Ely
about a bill, which could take land away from the church. Henry is now
a true man of the Church and is likely to support the Church. But even
so the cunning Bishop of Canterbury has a plan that will divert his
mind from the bill, and that is Henry's possible claims to land in
France. He says to Ely 'For I have made an offer to his majesty'. If
there is a war to get the land the Church will pay some money for the
campaign. Also in the conversation between the bishops, it brings you
up to date with what is currently happening.
Henry had spent his youth (known as Prince Hal) mixing with bad
company, filling up his time with 'riots, banquets, sports' and did
not behave like a prince or...