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Why Does Henry V Continue To Be Such A Famous And Popular King? Does He Deserve His Heroic Reputation?

724 words - 3 pages

King Henry V, son of Henry IV, forged his legend in a little over nine years. He made England one of the strongest kingdoms in Europe and academic KB McFarlane even described him as “the greatest man who ever ruled England”. Even though Henry V was said to be brave, fair, likeable and a great warrior, he was also arrogant, ruthless, cruel on campaign and organised massacres. So, how did such a man come to be a national hero?
Henry’s fame started to build when he was a teenager after showing his abilities on the battlefield by taking part in the Battle of Shrewsbury, in Wales. In that battle, he was wounded in the face by an arrow but refused to leave combat, fighting until the end. The ...view middle of the document...

Maybe that’s why the legend of Henry V as a “great man”, as opposed to a cruel one, has lasted.
Culture also played an important role in Henry’s reputation. His portrayals in three of Shakespeare’s plays made Henry a perfect example of English spirit and chivalry, though his wartime actions revealed that he was not such a moral man. Shakespeare smoothed Henry’s character and made him more amenable. In recent years, there have been several representations of those plays and even movies and TV series were made. Henry V was an English hero in his own lifetime and a legendary and historical figure in later years.
One of Henry’s most important successes which made him famous was his victory in the Battle of Agincourt during the Hundred Years’ War. Where his army was highly outnumbered by the French’s army which was twice bigger. The fact that they won in spite of the clearly disadvantage raised Henry’s popularity. Even though the victory at Agincourt was not military decisive, it won Henry important allies and gained him a...

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