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Henry V Character Analysis

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How can power overpower the nature of a man? In William Shakespeare’s Henry V, Henry’s life is centered around his kingship which turns him into a selfish and stern king. Throughout his life, Henry has worked hard to prepare himself for becoming the king of England. Moreover, Henry’s childhood consisted of constant preparation for his future career as king. However, when he becomes king he disregards his foolish childhood, and focuses on his own wealth and prosperity. Unfortunately, his selfishness compels him to do wicked things that harm his country. A king’s job is to protect and provide for his kingdom; Henry, however, makes many decisions that harm his kingdom, which makes him a bad king. Moreover, Henry’s childhood preparation for his kingship has led to much harm to the citizens of England. Henry’s position as king transforms him from a foolish young man into a hard, stern king. As king Henry displays attributes of wickedness, selfishness, and ruthlessness. During the war, Henry’s emotions overcome him which compels him to make wicked decisions. After the war begins, Henry is committed to winning and does not care about the obstacles that lie ahead. After his friends are slaughtered, Henry decides that “every soldier kill his prisoners.” (4.6.38) All the prisoners taken by the English were slaughtered because Henry’s emotions interfered with his decision making. Moreover, Henry’s intellect got in the way with his decision-making, which cost the lives of many
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