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Justifying The Mirror Of All Christian Kings

1279 words - 5 pages

Justifying The Mirror of All Christian Kings

Henry V does justify ‘The mirror of all Christian Kings’ He is a great
military leader, a good politician, a strong public speaker, a
religious man and therefore a ‘mirror of all Christian kings’ He is a
very strong Christian king and does what he has to do as a king. This
does make him look heartless however it was his duty.

When we look at Henry as a king we have to look in the context of
the situation. Kingly qualities required now in 2004 are different to
the ones in 1415 and indeed in Shakespeare’s time. In 1415 a king had
to be ruthless, a strong leader of men, a religious man, a good
politician and liked by his people. Nowadays being a statesperson and
a bridger of gaps is a head of states main role. This is very
different. Henry had added problems his father Henry IV had deposed
Richard II and Henry needed to solidify the Bolingbroke line.

A number of events take place in the play revealing Henry as a great
king. Looking at these scenes helps us see the true Henry and judge
whether he is the mirror of all Christian kings or not. At Henry’s
entrance we see true character. In his dealing with the Dauphin’s
‘gift’ we see his true colours. In this scene he emerges from his
youth. Before that he was seen as callous youth following ‘courses
vain’ with bad company such as Fallstaff ‘companies unlettered, rude
and shallow’. The Dauphin still believes Henry is like that. However
as Ely says ‘wholesome berries thrive and ripen best Neighboured by
fruit of baser quality.’ This is very true ‘never came reformation in
such a flood’. Henry’s reply to the French ambassador is powerful and
strong. He vows to punish the dauphin for his scorn many will live to
‘curse the Dauphin’s scorn’. He threatens France and says that
‘thousands weep more than did laugh at it’.

The treatment of the traitors also shows off Henry’s kingly qualities.
It shows him to be a strong king. He also shows his cunning. By
talking to the traitors about a man who while he is drunk has been
foul mouthing the King luring them into trap they have asked for his
punishment. Then when the King tells them he knows about the plot they
have no right to beg for mercy ‘the mercy that was quick in us of
late’. He also shows cunning by punishing them so severely. He now
gains the support of his barons through fear and he shows himself as
being strong

Henry continues to show his qualities. At the siege of Harfleur and in
his speech before the battle of Agincourt. His speeches use rhetoric
to persuade his troops. In both speeches he appeals to the men’s
patriotism, and brotherhood. He continually uses the world England at
Harfleur ‘whose limbs were made in England’, ‘‘God for Harry, England
and Saint George.’’ And at Agincourt ‘gentlemen in England’. He pounds
home the...

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