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Henry V Characters

King Henry V is the same characters as the Harry of Henry IV, Part One and Part Two. He is a young man who when he was heir to the throne pretended to be dissolute so that he would impress his subjects by becoming a good man the moment he took power. 

Intent on being seen as the perfect king, he is often cold, and though he is eager to go to war he insists on being convinced he has a right to do so. He is a great speechmaker, able to rouse his audience to great enthusiasm, and he uses this skill well, needing little excuse to deliver an oration. He is merciless, though he calls it justice, not only refusing to save an old friend from hanging but saying he is pleased this has happened; at a moment’s fear in the middle of battle, he orders all French prisoners killed. Nevertheless, he still enjoys pranks, setting Williams to fight Fluellen before revealing that the soldier’s quarrel is with him. He is pious, and believes God to be on his side. He is afraid all the same that his father’s usurpation of the throne (see Richard II) will play against him even though he has tried to atone for that crime. Though he rejects Williams’s argument that he will bear some guilt in the death of his soldiers, he still feels some unease, simply due to all the cares that press down on him as King. He is rarely alone, and thus allowed little time for introspection; almost everything he says is for public consumption. He is somewhat shy and not a little bumbling when he attempts to woo Katherine, particularly as his French is atrocious. He is very charming when he chooses to be, however, and earns extraordinary loyalty from his men. He dies little after the end of the play.


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