In Shakespeare’s “The Life of King Henry V,” set in England in the early fifteenth century, with the famous and heroic English King, Henry V, claiming his “rights” to the French throne. This claim caused complications and the declaration of war on both English and French soil. This political war, then turn into a route of complicated negotiations, after King Henry’s terrifying forces had successfully defeated French forces. As the result of the war, a peace treaty was made, and part of that agreement was the marriage between King Henry V and the daughter of the King of France, Katherine of Valois. An analysis of the both King Henry’s and Katherine’s relationship reveals that both had conflicting perspectives of one another, which resulted as a marriage in political unions of two powerful nations rather than a union of two lovers.
Throughout history, especially in the fifteenth century, it was extremely rare for a woman to choose her husband. The majority of marriages were planned by the head of the household, which was usually the father of the bride or groom. The purposes of these marriages were to gain power and social standings. This in turn also provided the chance for the heirs of the marriages to have possession of power, territory/land, and a set social standard for the family for all future heirs. This was more of a benefit for the men than the women, for the men could own territories and be the head of the household, women could not. Instead, a woman’s obligation was to fulfill their family’s jurisdiction in their future.
With that case of using marriage as a tool, it is seen in “Henry V” clearly. The personality of King Henry evolves with the idea of marriage, was rather remarkable. Even though in the beginning of Act I, King Henry is unsure in claiming the throne of France, his mind was set to accomplish that goal, and uses whichever resource he has to accomplish it. After presenting himself with an unstoppable force to pressure his enemies to get what he wants, and winning the battles one by one, gave him the opportunity to get what he wants. Utilizing the marriage is one of them. He indeed let King Charles keep the throne, but the negotiations of marrying the young Katherine become an advantage for King Henry. This union is the ultimate ticket in claiming territory from France. This ensures his claim by the use of the bloodline succession law. This allows King Henry to unify the two powerful kingdoms of England and France, and have his heirs take over when he becomes king. In his mind, he sees his family, his bloodline, to rule in eternity as a unified kingdom between England and France.
It seems that King Charles, King of France, had the same idea. He hoped that his daughter would marry a powerful leader, like a political pawn that would give him a powerful ally. Due to his father’s wishes, Katherine is already educated mature and a graceful woman that would do what her father wants her to do. She is an intelligent woman, and her...