Henry V: The Commoner's King Essay

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Henry V: The Commoner's King

Henry the Fifth has been noted as England’s best King throughout history. He was loved among the common people and nobles alike for his fairness, his effectiveness on the throne, his justness, and his ability to relate to people of all classes. The kings that reigned before him, especially his father King Henry IV and King John, provide a striking contrast to Hal’s attitude on the throne. Kings of the past had not experienced the life of the common people, and chose to lead their lives in the realm of the castle. As we witnessed in I Henry IV, Hal’s father even went as far to discuss this approach to ruling at length with Hal. Henry IV believed that a king was best admired and supplicated if he was kept
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I know thy quality.
Montjoy: Montjoy.
King: Thou dost thy office fairly.
(3.6,143-5)

King Henry V also touched on a subject very pertinent to many people of that time: God. In many instances, he places God before all else. In Act 1, scene 2, England receives a message from France in the form of tennis balls. This is when he decides to make war with France final. He tells his lords:

…omit no happy hour
That may give furth’rance to our expedition.
For we have now no thought in us but France,
Save those to God, that run before our business.
(1.2,302-3)

He also gives God the credit for various accomplishments. The fact that Henry gives God the honor of winning the war shows that he is not selfish or conceited, and that he recognizes a spiritual force behind his actions.

O God, thy arm was here!
And not to us, but to thy arm alone
Ascribe we all. When, without stratagem,
But in plain shock and even play of battle,
Was ever known so great and little loss
On one part and on th’ other? Take it, God,
For it is none but thine!
(4.8,105-11)

Not only does Henry share his glory with God, but also with his royal subjects and all of England. In Act 1, scene 2 he tells the ambassadors of France that "We are no tyrant, but a Christian king"(241). The fact that he shares his
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