Essay on William Shakespeare's Henry V

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William Shakespeare's Henry V

William Shakespeare is one of the most famous and influential writers of all time. His plays not only portray the past, but also aspects of love and hate, humour and tragedy.

Henry V, written by Shakespeare, using Raphael Holinshed's historical chronicles, appealed to many of the citizens of that time, as it presented an insight into their country's past, as well as 'feel-good' nationalism. It would have been performed on stage at a time when Henry VIII had secluded the country of all contact with the Church of Rome. Providing the audience with its country's past glories and triumphs, the play counter-acts this feeling of seclusion and loss of identity with
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Are they correct in their assumption: is Henry a great king, or does William Shakespeare merely include this as a biased opinion to enforce onto the audience, so as to prosper the basis of patriotism already built earlier?

The play begins with the chorus' prologue to the play. Naturally, Shakespeare provides the chorus with words so descriptive and elegant that the apology for lack of realism is forgotten, as is the stage and theatre, and, instead, the open planes of Agincourt are forcefully seen in one's 'minds eye'. No more are we an audience, but a witness.

Shakespeare portrays Henry as a very religious king; whether this is to promote Henry or to express his own opinions as to what principles a King should have, especially whilst Henry VIII was on the thrown at that time, and the Roman Church had been cut off from England, indicating that religion wasn't too high on Henry VIII's agenda. There is evidence throughout the play that Henry was a religious king, "a true lover of the holy church." From Shakespeare's view a good king always appreciates his creator and knows that it is God who will guide and look after him, so it would have been important to include as many thanks to God from Henry and his men to prove that they actually show
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