Henry V's Treatment of Kingship Essay

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William Shakespeare's historical play, The Life of Henry V, captures the essence of noble kingship during the Elizabethan era through the intelligent young King Henry who utilizes his uncanny rhetorical skill to manipulate friends and foes alike, and by combining both a ruthless sense of determination and a compassionate nature to successfully portray a good king as well as a good man. He focuses primarily on the responsibilities of kingship, putting his feelings second to the crown in order to gain the support of his people and a degree of fear among his enemies. His treatment of kingship travels down two contrasting rivers, enabling him to be a powerful flood, yet still trickle into the hearts of his men.

King Henry jumps into the
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A truly good king would put his personal feelings aside in order to be the backbone for his country, thus depicting the naive Prince Hal's maturation into a practical, noble King Henry V. Hence, the relentless pursue of his goals and dedication to his country epitomizes the qualities of a successful king.

Another unique characteristic King Henry portrays lies in his rhetorical genius, allowing him to intimidate and persuade his enemies as well as to positively motivate his followers. For instance, while speaking to the governor of Harfleur, he utilizes vivid imagery of the "blind and bloody soldier with foul hand...desir[ing] the locks of your still shrieking daughters" and "your naked infants spitted upon pikes" in order to convince the city to surrender. (3:3 29-38) He presents himself as an unstoppable force not to be reckoned with, compelling the governor to make a decision that could affect the lives of thousands. Thus, Henry's brilliance with words manipulates the enemy to fit his desires responsible for the strength of his country. In addition, he uses the same technique to inspire and rouse his troops at the St. Crispin's Day Battle, proclaiming, "He that outlives this day and comes home safe will stand o' tip toe...Then he will strip his sleeve and show his scars...we in it shall be remembered." (4:3 44-60) Aware of his army's deteriorating spirits, he personally idolizes each soldier by
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