Essay Example on the Leadership of King Henry V

Published: 2019-05-22
Essay Example on the Leadership of King Henry V
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Literature Shakespeare
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 864 words
8 min read

Shakespeare did not classify his work as comic or tragic. This is because comic work had some elements of tragic events and vice versa. In Henry V Shakespeare has portrayed King Henry V as a the pinnacle of royalty, the perfect king. Thus, that is what is stuck in our minds as we read his work, despite the historical accuracy of that statement. Despite all this people should remember that all these works are works of fiction and should not be termed as historically accurate as they were loosely on historical characters and are generally for entertainment purposes, though some were used to spread political propaganda but that was not the main agenda for them to be written and played for the audience.

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As a king, Henry V had qualities that one may consider questionable after deeply analyzing his life and the instances surrounding him. For instance, King Henry V was a very charismatic person. He makes friends with the people he met at the tavern. They are friends and servants of King Henrys friend Jack Falstaff. This shows that King Henry V was a very humble and down to earth person who did not regard the status of any person which made him a person with very good leadership qualities. However, later on during his tenure as the king, he considers the tavern crew as a liability to his political and social status, thus betraying them and leaving them for dead. This is a very dark side of him that really shows a side of him that is not at all close to charismatic, but is more of selfish, proud and egocentric thus bringing his good leadership to question.

Henry V can also be described by many as strong and powerful. This is clearly depicted by his work leading his army during the war, by conquering towns and taking the French throne. He endures hardships during this period but he still emerges powerful and strong. These virtues are however tainted when he lets his friends die after he has been made a king and during the war. For instance, when he lets his friend Bardolph be prosecuted without any remorse and emotion towards the event makes him a heartless and coward for not defending the honour of his teen hood friend even though he was on the wrong. This can be debatable, in that Bardolph, was on the wrong thus should have been punished for his wrongdoings and should not have been pardoned. This however makes King Henry a good leader that he is willing to compromise his friendly love for Bardolph but a bad friend in that he is willing to let his friend die for the sake of leadership despite all the times they had together to become who he is today.

Henry V is a kind intelligent and loveable character. This is reflected when he is able to be friends with the commoners, that is the tavern crew despite him being a mighty prince in the kingdom. This makes him a good leader in that he can be able to associate with people from all walks of life thus he is portrayed as a peoples servant leader. His loveable character is also depicted when he was able to woo Princess Katherine due to his charming and charismatic character. To be able to be on good terms with his opponents daughter is a clear indication that he was a charming loveable character and would rule the kingdom with the love and care it deserves.. This is however argued when he lets his own friend who he grew up with die in vain without him coming out to defend him. His cruelty and lack of compassion is portrayed when he threatens Hafleurs mayor and residents by saying that if they do not step down for him, there will be chaos, the brutal killing of small children and rape. The audience is left contemplating if Henry would actually do those unspeakable thing to innocent people of a town which has been caught in the fiery flames of war. If he were to actually do that, then he would end up being even more cruel than King Charles VI of France, who was actually the antagonist to King Henrys quest and adventure of life.

Henry V despite his portrayal as a good person and role model to the people, refuses to listen and agree on the demands of the French people regardless of how small they are. Once he was crowned as the French ruler, he became narcissistic. The power he had influenced his decision making thus making him a bad leader. He had given the French extreme ultimatum whereby he would either have all or nothing. For example when they offered various pieces of property, he turned them down. This proved how disdainful he was thus not termed as a good leader.

In conclusion, Henry V can be termed as bothha good leader and a bad leader depending on ones perception towards him and the actions that he undertook during his time as a king and as a prince, or during the period before the war and after conquering the French kingdom.

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