The Representation of Masculinity and Violence in Henry V and The Rover

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The Representation of Masculinity and Violence in Henry V and The Rover

Representing violence as an essential tool to gaining control, Henry V is dominated by masculine power, in this case, with the control of France.

The cast is mainly male, containing just four female characters, namely Mistress Quickly, Isabel Queen of France, Katherine her daughter and Alice, the attendant.

The chorus sets the scene of war in the prologue, with ‘Then should the warlike Harry’ and ‘That did affright the air at Agincourt’. This image is further represented when the Archbishop of Canterbury is conferring with the Bishop of Ely about the King, ‘List his last discourse of war, and you shall hear / A
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90-95).

The Dauphin boasts of the French’s superiority over England, feminising the English with ‘And let us do it with no show of fear - / No, with no more than if we heard that England / Were busied with a Whitsun morris-dance;/ For, my good liege, she is so idly kinged, / Her sceptre so fantastically borne/ By a vain, giddy, shallow, humorous youth, / That fear attends her not.’ (II.4.21-28).

Henry uses the power of his masculinity to procure the throne of France, which incurs the violence necessary for his actions. This violence is more implicit, as it is ‘acted’ off stage, giving us the idea that the battle is occurring; with no fighting seen.

Henry is at times; portrayed as a humane ruler, as Canterbury remarks ‘The King is full of grace and fair regard’ (I.1.22). Further exemplified with the drunkard whom he wishes to set free, ‘Enlarge the man committed yesterday / That railed against our person. We consider / It was excess wine that set him on, / And on his more advice we pardon him.’ (II.2. 40-43). This allows Henry to punish the conspirators, Cambridge, Scroop and Grey, whom he has led into this trap

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