Henry V Morals Essay

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The play Henry V by William Shakespeare is a war play about King Henry V attacking France, and defeating them in 1415, at the battle of Agincourt. The play contains many different views on war - not all of the views are positive, although the play itself could be considered as a glorification of the battle of Agincourt. However, some of the views are neither positive nor negative: they are ambiguous or support both sides in various situations. It is in this essay that I will talk about these. There are five mixed messages that I will talk about: the horrors of war; shifting the blame; religion; unity; and whether the war was pointless. One of the main mixed messages is the horror of war. At the end of the battle of Agincourt, real atrocities…show more content…
This, however, is contradicted by what he says later on in that scene. After the ambassador delivers the Dauphin’s jest, the king responds that he will invade France due to the jest: …Tell you the Dauphin I am coming on To venge me as I may, For this, he blames the Dauphin, saying that “his soul shall stand chargèd” for the deaths of the people in the war. The third mixed message that I will discuss is religion. One of the main reasons why he goes to war in the first place is because he was persuaded to by the Archbishop of Canterbury, God’s representative on earth. Throughout the play, Henry V is depicted as “a true lover of the holy church”, claims that the victory at Agincourt was due to God’s, and claims that “God fought for us”. However, in Harfleur, he compares himself to the devil: …Arrayed in flames like to the prince of fiends, Do with his smirched complexion all fell feats, Enlinked to waste and destruction. This contrasts what is said about him by the bishops, and how he acts in the rest of the play, like in Act 4, Scene 8, where he says that God was the reason why they won the battle of Agincourt: …To boast of this, or take that praise from…show more content…
This proves that there is a large amount of unity in the English army. This is very different to the attitudes of the French. They value the nobles more than the common men, while in war, which is proven by Montjoy saying: …To sort our nobles from our common man… In the French army, there is a great distinction between the dukes and the peasants, which contrasts the unity of the English army. The final mixed message that I will discuss is whether the war was pointless. In Act 2, Scene 4, the Duke of Exeter demands the crown of France for King Henry V. The King of France does not agree to the demands, but he offers King Henry his daughter, Katherine. Near the end of the play, however, King Henry says: … Leave our cousin Katherine here with us She is our capital demand… This is what the French King offered in the first place, meaning that the whole war was pointless, because what King Henry got could have been got through diplomacy. However, the war was not pointless, because in King Henry’s eyes, it proved that God supported him in being the King of England, although his father usurped the crown of England from Richard

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