Year 11 English Studies
Critical Literacy Essay
Act 2 Scene 1, Nym - “The king is a good king”. Kenneth Branagh described Henry V as a man of honour. How do you perceive the king?
In Elizabethan times, people perceived that a king was supposed to have. These are very important because, other than heritage, these things are the defining characteristics of a King. Some of these important prerequisites are that he is learnéd, married, counselled by wise men, merciful, christian and self controlled. In modern times, these perceptions are not as important as what they were, but are still sought after ideals for the ruler to have.
In most stories that we hear about the old kings of England, they are quite ruthless when it comes to righting wrongs that others have done. King Henry V can be perceived as a much more merciful king than what is expected of rulers of that time. In Act 2, Scene 2, King Henry decides to let a man out of jail because his charge was minor. The man was jailed for insulting the king and the three that were planning on betraying Henry to the French were opposed to letting the man go free.
“... Enlarge the man that was committed yesterday that rallied against our person. We consider it was excess of wine that set him on, and on his more advice, we pardon him.”
This show of mercy is exactly the kind of thing that sets him apart from all of the other leaders that are portrayed in this play. Shows of such emotions and behaviours by King Henry makes it much easier for the audience to relate to him. By making it easier for people to relate to the king, the audience are given the ability to perceive the king in the way that Shakespeare intended.
Although in some points during the play, King Henry is able to control his temper very well, stopping himself from getting angry at others, a majority of the time, he is unable to do this successfully. There are some examples of his ability to control his temper, but there are many more examples of...