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TOPIC: Significant issues in Henry V

Significant issues in Henry V 6 years 8 months ago #1531

  • kelcb22
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I am trying to find the two most significant issues Shakespeare asks his audience to wrestle with in henry V. I am suppossed to discuss his refusal to answer any simple questions with easy answers and the issues revlevence in today's world.

Also these three questions.
1. Discuss the role played by the archbishop of canterbury in this play.
2. discuss role of Falstaff in this drama. ( not a trick question)
3. Discuss the realtionship between Henry V and Katherine of France. Is this love or exploitation
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Significant issues in Henry V 6 years 8 months ago #1539

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It has been brought to my attention that my posts seem like I am wanting my homework done for me. I just want to let other users know that I am not wanting my homework done for me! I am a home schooled student and I am just trying to get a discussion going on some of the questions I am given to think about and analyzie after each play. I have my own opinion and would just like to hear someone elses opinion and hopefully be able to have a meaningful discussion that allows us all to think about what Shakespeare wanted his audience to learn. I am also looking to enrich my learning experience while studing Shakespeare. So if anyone would like to reply I will post again so we can start a discussion, as you will bounce ideas off eachother.
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Significant issues in Henry V 6 years 5 months ago #1747

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Ok here are a few of my ideas two significant issues
1. what is a good leader?
2. What qualitites must one possess to become a good leader?
any other suggestions are always appreciated.
I still have'nt really been able to figure out what the role of the archbishop of canterbury is so any suggestions or ideas to get me headed in the correct direction would be great.
Falstaff- you can't really say he is a comedic character in Henry V because he is sick and dies veryt soon in the play. I guess one could say that Falstaff
1. reminded the audience of King Henry's follies of his youth
2. Showed the audience how Henry had to set aside his personal friendships/ affairs and do what was best for his kingdom ( the qualities of a good leader)
Any other ideas would be appreciated as well.
The relationship between Henry and Katherine of France:
seems to me to be both love and exploitation but more of the latter. Henry wants to marry Katherine as to bring peace between France and England. I also feel that he wants her to help get his hands (so to speak) on France's throne eventually. In my opinion it is a classic arranged marriage for the royalty of the time. Katherine doesn't really have a choice as she tells henry that it will be whatever pleases her father and if it pleases him it shall please her. Women of the time wern't "allowed" to have their own opinion. I feel that henry's relationship with Katherine is merely to benefit him more than anything although love is probably a small part of the whole equation.
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Significant issues in Henry V 6 years 5 months ago #1748

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Welcome back!

A couple of very quick questions/pointers -

Have you seen the play on video? Which version(s)?

Why do you use the word leader? Henry is 'King' - is there a significance in the word?

Canterbury - religious justification for England's claim to throne? (Still claimed by the way when Elizabeth was crowned queen of England) - But also a dig at the Catholic church?

Falstaff - there is comedy in the play - so comedy isn't the reason for not including him. How about the very practical reason of the actor being needed to play other roles?
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Significant issues in Henry V 6 years 5 months ago #1749

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I haven't seen the either verson on video.
I used leader because I for my assignment I am supposed to discuss the play's relevence in modern times as well as in Shakespeares time. I should have put King/Leader. DId you have any other ideas about the two most significant issues?
Why would it be a dig a the catholic church? Is it because Canterbury is what seems to be purposely misquoting the book of numbers ( Act 1.2...The sin upon my head.. ) and in his omittion of that key phrase ,...with no son.., claiming the catholic church is wrong or lying?
But why kill him off just because the actor was needed? There had to be some reason for his death for example to show the change within Henry or maybe to show the choices and sacrifices a king has to make within his personal life are much more difficult than that of a common man.
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Significant issues in Henry V 6 years 5 months ago #1750

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In act 1.1 where ely and canterbury are talking what do you think ely ment when saying the strawberry grows underneath the nettle...
is he simply comparing the way that the strawberry which grows underneath the thorns grows, ripens, and survives better than one growing exposed to the elements to the way that Henry disguised/ decevied people so they had no idea he could and would be such a capable king. Kind of Like a who would have guessed statement?
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Significant issues in Henry V 6 years 5 months ago #1755

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1. The reason I asked about the film was they give 'interpretations' of the questions you ask. In the earlier, Olivia. film, the Archbishop is in a 'comedy' scene - the church is seen as a figure of fun. In the second version the church is much more devious and the encouragement of the war is seen as motivated by profit - the least expensive way to save church lands.
Both are supportable by the text.
Don't forget the Elizabethans would be very interested in how Shakespeare presented the Church - England's Yo-Yo relationship with Protestantism-Catholicism was still not over in their eyes and the dissolution of the monasteries is certainly hinted at in the early scenes of the play.

2. My point about leader-King is to hint at a significant difference. It is a difference with deep implications for the play - and it is one which modern audiences tend to be less sensitive too - it is also one which helps account for the Falstaff issue.
Henry is not just a good general, he is not a modern president, he is not CEO of a multinational: He is an 'anointed' king.
The effects of that are given in Henry IV Part II - I am sure you've read the 'rejection of Falstaff' there, so what exactly does "I know thee not old man' signify when delivered from a newly anointed king?

3. My point about the available actor is to bring in the issue of the play as a piece written for limited resources, on an open stage, in daylight, by between 12 and 16 actors in one continuous performance.
Falstaff would have been preformed originally by one of the major actors - possibly Burbage himself (who could now be playing Hal) - and would have required a time consuming costume change - maybe Shakespeare kicks him out of the play because there is no actor to play the role.
Characters who serve no purpose frequently disappear (Fool in Lear eg). :D
It is not there has to be a reason to kill him off - there has to be a reason to INCLUDE him.
The contrast between old England, pre-Henry V, is provided enough with the surviving characters - each of which is used for a specific 'times-have-changed' point.

The strawberry/nettle (not thorn by the way!) could simply be good things are hidden below bad - but there is an interesting Elizabethan Lore point:

Shakespeare’s mention of the Strawberry and the Nettle
deserves a passing note. It was the common opinion
in his day that plants were affected by the neighbourhood of
other plants to such an extent that they imbibed each other’s
virtues and faults. Thus sweet flowers were planted near
fruit trees, with the idea of improving the tlavour of the
fruit, and evil-smelling trees, like the Elder, were carefully
cleared away from fruit trees, lest they should be tainted.
But the Strawberry was supposed to be an exception to the
rule, and was supposed to thrive in the midst of “evil
communications” without being corrupted. }’reachers and
emblem-writers naturally seized upon this: ” In tilling our
gardens we cannot but admire the fresh innocenc4 and purity
of the Strawberry, because although it creeps along the
ground, and is continually crushed by serpents, lizards, and
other venomous reptiles, yet it does not imbibe the slightest
impressi,,n of poison, or the smallest malignant quality, a
true sign that it has no affinity with poison. And so it is
with hum,m virtues,” &c. ”


http://5guys.wordpress.com/plant-lore-of-shakespeare/

4. Henry and his wife - well, both political (Kings are NOT free to marry who they wish) and a match 'made in heaven' - they are obviously attracted to each other.
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Significant issues in Henry V 6 years 5 months ago #1760

I believe there two reasons who Falstaff does not appear in Henry V. There are scholars who point out that in the Henry IV plays, Falstaff may have been played by Will Kemp. When Shakespeare wrote Henry V, Kemp was no longer in the company. Richard Burbage probably played Prince Hal in the Henry IV plays and the title role in Henry V.

From what we know about Will Kemp, he was very popular with theatergoers. Some may have been upset when he left the company. Perhaps no other actor was willing to play Falstaff. I have no evidence, it's just my guess.

I have seen the Henry IV plays several times onstage and usually Falstaff steals the show. This may have been the case when the plays were first performed. If this is true, perhaps Shakespeare did not want this to happen if Falstaff had even a few scenes in Henry V. Mistress Quickly's speech about Falstaff's death is moving. I think it's better to see other characters react to her speech than to see the death.
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Significant issues in Henry V 6 years 5 months ago #1768

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Kempe certainly could fit the role - and he did leave the company c.1600 when the play is thought to have been written to open the new, Globe theatre.

re: "Mistress Quickly's speech about Falstaff's death is moving" - it is also absolutely filthy! - I posted something about the scene in an earlier post.
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