Free «Henry V: Henry the Fifth» Essay Sample


A person can be characterized as a hero in case he or she does actions for the wellbeing of other people or for the public. As defined by the Oxford English dictionary, it can be defined as a person whose level of bravery is extraordinary. Such a person is also firm and ensures that in every action he takes, he exhibits the greatness of soul. This can be in pursuit of enterprise or even work. That is, a man that is admired for the achievements he has made has well as his noble qualities” (p.1). It is such qualities that raise the concern of whether the ability to be a successful speaker does support the claim of heroism. In Shakespeare’s play book, Henry V, King Henry V ascends to the throne of England following the death of his father as indicated in the beginning of the play. It has therefore been controversial of whether King Henry the fifth can be regarded as a hero based on his actions.

However, the scenery display in the manner, in which King Henry ascends to power, proves him as worth of being a rhetorical hero. In presenting his heroic figure, Shakespeare displays Henry’s main concern as the nature of leadership and its relationship to morality. It is from such connection that King Henry comes out as heroic yet ruthless protagonists. Shakespeare displays King Henry V as an extraordinary good leader who is not only intelligent and focused, but inspires his men as well. This model of kingship is evident where the Archbishop of Canterbury extols Henry as being a thoughtful and devout ruler who is praised for his understanding of religious, military, and political matters. He states that “The king is full of grace and fair regards, a true lover of the holy church” (Shakespeare, p.5).  However, a deep analytical look at Henry’s qualities tends to give the picture that the character that defines a good ruler is not the same as that which necessary means a good person. This brings out the essence of a rhetoric hero.

While Henry has a charismatic ability, as presented by the author, to connect with his subjects that motivated people, this is done only to make him embrace and achieve his own goals of being a fundamental criterion of good leadership. Unlike popular heroes whose power comes from the battle front, Henry’s words were powerful and showed his ability not only to inspire his soldiers, but cause the increase in fear of their enemy as well.  He says, “We hope to make the sender blush at it. For we have now no thought in us but France. Save those to God, that run before our business,” (Shakespeare, p.16). In so doing, Henry is able to frighten the enemy, thereby making them surrender as evident in Harfleur where the governor did surrender for the sake of protecting the life of the people. This brings out Henry’s heroic status.

However, by being forced to act in a manner that can be translated as immoral and unforgivable, Henry seized to be the renowned her displayed by Shakespeare. He is rather portrayed as a protagonist. This is what brings out rhetorical heroism in Henry’s character. In becoming a great king who upholds the law, Henry betrays his friends such as Falstaff, and even puts other loved ones to death in a bid to strengthening the stability of his throne. While Henry cannot be faulted for having Scrope killed because of his plot to assassinate him, his cruel punishment of Bardolph is less understandable and causes internal conflict. Shakespeare establishes Henry as a good leader who favors peace. However, contrary to the positive aspects of the character, Henry only talks of favoring peace, but he is not only willing to condone. Moreover, he is able to create a massive violence outburst just to achieve his goal. This was evident when he gruesomely murdered children of Harfeur just to persuade the governor to surrender.


In conclusion, the scenery has portrayed Henry not only as a hero, but one who represents a rhetoric hero. This can only be understood by those who feel the fine distinctions between heroism and villainy. For a fact, Henry was a great king and a hero whose actions antagonized his good leadership, thereby rendering him as a rhetoric hero.


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