Essay Functions of the Chorus in Shakespeare's Henry V

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Functions of the Chorus in Shakespeare's Henry V In Shakespeare's Henry V, the chorus plays a prominent role. There are few other plays written by Shakespeare that include a chorus, however in no other play does the chorus have such an important role. The principal purpose of the chorus is that of story telling. The chorus acts as a guide for the audience, narrating parts that wouldn't fit into the action of the play. For example in the Act II Chorus, we are told about treason: 'The sum is paid, the traitors are agreed, the king is now set from London, and the scene is now transported, gentles, to Southampton.' As we can see, the chorus reviews what has happened in previous scenes and…show more content…
Appealing to a muse, a goddess patron of the arts, tells us that is going to be a really special play. The audience react to this, getting excited as they find they are going to watch such a wonderful play. The prologue raises our expectation of Henry, as we know previously he had been a bit of a rebel. It now calls him the 'Warlike Harry'; it says he is like Mars, the god of war. Throughout the play, the audience are reminded how great Henry is. In Act V's chorus, Henry is compared to 'Caesar', a great roman emperor and by the epilogue Henry is 'The star of England'. However, Henry also has a less attractive side, which is occasionally portrayed in the scenes between the choruses. This may seem inconsistent. Henry can be cunning and manipulative. When he wishes to fight the French, he says to the Archbishop of Canterbury that he wants his blessing, because then God will be on his side. If Canterbury agrees, then effectively anything bad that happens to Henry and his army thereafter is his fault. 'May I with right of conscience make this claim?' Henry asks the Archbishop of Canterbury, who replies ' The sin upon my head, dread sovereign'. The audience will react to this, they begin to realise that Henry is a clever man. He can manipulate people so it

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