The problem set by the tetralogy that Henry V concludes is how to legitimate this line of English monarchs. He chooses instead to attribute the victory to a glorious English king whose rhetoric and personal valor were able to inspire common men to brave deeds against impossible odds.
His warning to Harfleur, for example, paints such a grim picture of death and destruction, of raped maidens and skewered infants, that fearful town officials surrender peacefully. A good king uses whatever tools are available to attain order, harmony, peace, and prosperity, for good ends justify the means.
It also demonstrates what a hero king can bring to England: The attack on France will be a holy war, fully backed by holy church and legal precedent: His effective spy system ferrets out traitors, whom he disposes of swiftly and violently.
He is generous to friends and supporters, rewards loyalty, and in his St. Above all, Henry V is flexible, able to be a king in war and a king in peace and capable of gentle mercy as well as harsh justice. Shakespeare carefully avoids mentioning the main historical reason for victory, the fact that the English battle tactic of employing foot soldiers with long bows was superior to the medieval French tactic of employing single armored knights to wage hand-to-hand combat.
His leniency to enemy villagers wins their hearts, but he is merciless to French captives who broke the rules of war, killing English baggage boys. Shakespeare spends these four plays transitioning from the legitimate Richard, through the usurper, Henry IV, to the relegitimated Henry V.
Moreover, Henry V provides a model of good kingship: True to that promise, Hal becomes the perfect English king, a true representative of all of his people, one who understands his own vices and virtues and those of his citizens. Here, Henry V effectively employs Machiavellian strategies; his forceful rhetoric demonstrates good policy and good kingship.
His earlier experiences help him distinguish loyal subjects and good soldiers from the disloyal and incompetent; in act 4, scene 1, he rejects flattery but values blunt honesty.
He shows another facet of his rhetoric and understanding of psychology when he adopts the appealing role of a blunt solider, unused to wooing, to win a hesitant princess who does not wish to be forced into a loveless political marriage. Elizabethan audiences were meant to understand that the qualities and blessings of Henry V had been passed on to Elizabeth by right of birth.
The quickest, most effective way to achieve these ends is to do as his father advised: His youthful escapades have taught him a deep understanding of the human nature of the citizens he must rule, making him wise beyond his years.
The opening action demonstrates Machiavellian policy consummately managed. Richard II, the rightful king, was deposed by Henry IV, calling into question the ideology of divine right upon which the monarchy is founded. As a new, untried king with a youthful reputation for riotous living, Henry V must secure his throne, extend his power, and improve his reputation while he still has youth, vigor, and political support.
Moreover, he surrounds himself with good advisers whose advice he follows. Henry does not bargain away what was gained in the field but stays firm.May 16, · Henry V is a total Machiavellian ruler.
He manipulates his friends, toys with his enemies, understands the concept of correctly capturing new territory, and is a master general, something Machiavelli said was what every ruler should be. His play King Henry V is a sustained and powerful meditation on the interrelationships of all three.
In dramatizing Henry's invasion and conquest of France, Shakespeare raises the question of the ends of the polity and the nature of right rulership. Henry V is the last play in the cycle in which William Shakespeare explores the nature of kingship and compares medieval and Renaissance ideal rulers.
In Henry IV, Part I (pr. c.pb. Henry V and Machiavelli are different in many ways. The main reason why they are different is because they are the leaders from different epochs.
Henry V is a leader from medieval times. Machiavelli “The Prince” is a leader from renaissance times.
These leaders have different thoughts of a lot of things. William Shakespeare’s Henry V personifies Henry V as a cunning monarch. Shakespeare imbues him with a dual-political personality that incorporates values from the 16th century political philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli and humanist Desiderius Erasmus.
The Prince vs. Henry V A comparison of attributes After reading Machiavelli’s The Prince and watching Shakespeare’s Henry V in class, one begins to notice similarities between the authors’ idea of what a “perfect king” should be.Download