Essay on William Shakespeare's Henry V

1505 Words 7 Pages
William Shakespeare's Henry V

Shakespeare's plays can be divided into three distinct categories: histories, romances and comedies. Henry the fifth is a history.

Henry V is the last of four plays by William Shakespeare which tells of the rise of the house of Lancaster. It was written in 1599 but is set in 1415, two years after the death of his father and Henry has made a favourable impression on his courtiers and the clergy. He has constantly been encouraged to seize the throne of France with the support of the Archbishop of Canterbury. When the King of France responds with a mocking gift of tennis balls it presents Henry with the perfect excuse to begin the invasion.

The invasion ends up
…show more content…
We know this because of the source material which has been recorded by Shakespeare. He has recorded the following source material from Holinshed:

The explanation of the Salic law in Act One; In terram Salicam mulieres ne succedant, which translates to 'No woman shall succeed in Salic land.

The Archbishop of Canterbury's admiration for Henry which is obvious from pages 5 and 7 in which he describes his transformation from a headstrong youth to an admirable king:

"The courses of his youth promised it not.

The breath no sooner left his father's body

But that his wildness, mortified on him,

Seemed to die too; yea, at that very moment,

Consideration like an angel came

And whipped th'offending Adam out of him,

Leaving his body as a paradise,

T'envelop and contain celestial spirits.

Never was such a sudden scholar made,

Never came reformation in a flood

With such a heady currance scouring faults;

Nor never Hydra-headed wilfulness

So soon did lose his seat, and all at once,

As in this king."

This adoration of the king by the Archbishop was taken from Holinshed.

Obviously because the primary storyline in the play is set around Henry it is only natural that Shakespeare ,through research, would try to find out as much about the king's personality as possible and
Open Document