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The legal and moral legitimation of war in Shakespeare's 'Henry V'
Agnetha Hinz. Henry armed his men with pikes a foot longer than those used by the French, allowing English soldiers in hand-to-hand combat to deliver the first, and usually lethal, blow. When the fighting stopped after several hours, the French had lost about 6, men, and the English about Ken Adelman is a former U. Ambassador to the United Nations and director of the U.
He led by example, situating himself in the middle of the fighting whereas the French king, Charles VI, stayed in Paris, leaving the army under the leadership of a group of nobles. Even before speaking, Henry walks among his troops listening to what they are saying and feeling, and then positions himself in their midst to deliver his address. By contrast, the French leaders in the Branagh movie are shown at the head of their army, uttering confident phrases unable to be heard by any of their soldiers.
He connected to the mission and to the people. The response from the Archbishop is long-winded, meandering and almost impenetrable. An excerpt:.
Besides, their writers say, King Pepin, which deposed Childeric, Did, as heir general, being descended Of Blithild, which was daughter to King Clothair…. Indeed, the outcome of the discussion between Henry and the Archbishop had already been decided before the meeting took place.
Based on earlier speeches in the play, it is known that the Archbishop will grant Henry the right to attack France because Henry had earlier agreed to stop a bill in Parliament that would have taxed the church and taken away half its land. We also know that Henry entered the discussion with the full support of the English nobles who had visions of plundering the land and riches of a defeated France.
As for the king himself, he favored war in order to gain the respect of the English people and the nobles of the English court.
But none of this is mentioned during the talk between Henry and the Archbishop, nor is there discussion of substantive questions, such as: Could England actually win? How many troops would be needed to secure that victory? So why have the meeting at all? It argues that, while the war manuals examine the legacies of Edward and Henry, they are less detailed and critical than the plays, which offer potential for radical deconstruction of monarchical authority. Mediating between celebration and criticism, the plays question two aspects that had been closely associated with the popular reputations of these monarchs: a model of kingship that relies significantly on the person of the monarch and the legitimacy and expediency of foreign conquests.
As the most sustained, individual accounts of Edward III and Henry V from the last decade of the Elizabethan period, the stage plays form an important part of the historiographical tradition and evaluation of these monarchs. Most users should sign in with their email address.