Henry V


In Henry V, Shakespeare uses Henry to show that a leader must
put duty and fairness above friendship. King Henry has been known as a wild
misfit, and someone who has no regard for the world around him, as it is shown
in Henry IV, Part I, and Henry IV, Part II. He is an irresponsible drunk and the people of England question his ability to control and reign the throne when hisfather dies.
He has a poor selection of friends, they all a drunks, thieves,dishonest
and cowardly. Henry's father, Henry IV, suggests that Hotspur, the son of his
enemy and rival to the throne, would be a better candidate for the throne than
Henry. Henry is appalled at this thought and now is out to kill Hotspur. He does so at the battle at Shewsbury, while saving his fathers life. Shakespeare doesthis as to set the tone for Henry's character and his ability to reign and be a good leader in Henry V.
Shakespeare continues this questing of Henrys ability in Henry IV,Part II. During this play, as well, Henry is still a rebellion and still is close with isdistasteful companions. Although Henry killed Hotspur and momentarily showedhis ability to lead and become a king, his father still doubts him. As his father nears death, Henry assures him that he can handle the responsibility of being the next king. His father tells him two very important pieces of advise if Henry is to become a good and just king. He must listen to trusted advisors, and he must unite the English lords through a foreign war. Shakespeare uses that to foreshadow what Henry must do to become a good king, in Henry V.
At the time when Henry becomes king, Shakespeare gives hints that the
people are questing Henry's ability and responsibility to become a king. In Henry IV, Part II, Henry shows his advisors that he can be a good king and mend his drunken ways. When he is crowned king of England, Falstaff, his closest friend comes to him expecting King Henry to pardon him and welcome him. However, Shakespeare adds an element of suprise when Falsteff is welcomed by cruel and warning speech by the new king, warning Falstaff to stay away from him, and to mend his ways. Shakespeare has Henry be so cruel to his long loved
friend as to show his advisors that he means business. His advisors respond by
respecting the young king as they had just witnessed his virtue and rightful
intentions.
In Shakespeare's' Henry V, henry is faced with the monumental task of
ruling the throne of England. Shakespeare has Henry go forth alone, with no
known mentors. As his father is dead, and his old drunken acquaintance,
Falstaff, is as good as dead. Although Henry abandoned Falsaff, his long time
chum, he had to do it for the wellness of the kingdom depended on it. That one
incident proved to his court and advisors that he was ready to be a king and
could handle the awesome responsibilities of the tremendous job. He was
forced to put duty and fairness above friendship.
Henry is now faced with a tough situation. He has decided to go to war , as his father told him to do, but he still has not completely finished the second element of his fathers advise. Shakespeare sets the mood that Henry is still questioning himself as king and his choice to abandon Falsaff, and he cannot help but feel responsible for Falstaff taking ill recently. His other old drinking pals obviously feel the same way. Hostess: " The King hath killed his heart" (49, act 1, scene 2, ll 86). The hostess, along with his former friends, Pistol, Corporal Nym, Lieutenant Bardolph all feel that when the king spoke bad of Falsaff, it killed him as Henry was his closet companion at the time. Nym replies with: ''The king hath run bad rumors on the knight. That's the even of it" ( 51, act 1, scene 2, ll 118-119). When Henry told Falsaff off, he might not of considered what would happen to Falsaff himself when he is dealing with the rejection. Shakespeare uses this attitude that Henry was forced to choose between his kingdom or his long time friends. He obviously choose the kingdom and it consequently killed a man. Even though his friends feel for the loss of Falstaff, their true side and personality comes out when pistol remarks: '' Let us condole the knight, for