King Henry V is considered to be by far one of the greatest rulers to ever have graced the throne of England. Shakespeare demonstrates this belief by exemplifying Henry’s strong attributes showing just how great and powerful of a leader Henry was. However the issue of power and ethics plays a tremendous role in the personification of Henry as a person. There is no doubt that Henry’s power and ethical stance makes him a great king, but by being a great king, Henry is forced to act in a way that can be construed as dissolute.
Henry betrays a number of his friends including Falstaff, and threatens the Governor of Harfleur ordering him to surrender or he will kill the innocent children of Harfleur. It is through the issue of power and ethics demonstrated by King Henry V that the blurred line between hero and villain can be seen and in the end one can see that it is possible to describe Henry as being an immoral human being.
Throughout the play there are occasions in which Henry betrays his friends. Falstaff happens to be one of the friends betrayed by Henry. Falstaff cherished Henry and acted as a father figure to him, yet once in power Henry forbids Falstaff to be within 10 miles of him or face punishment. Falstaff is caught off guard by Henry and is completely humiliated by Henry who tells him that he dreamed of knowing a man such as Falstaff who was fat, crude and obnoxious and that he despises ever having such a dream. These cruel words heard by Falstaff coming from his greatest companion were like daggers to his heart. In Act II, scene iii Pistol, Nim, Bardolph, and the hostess are together to mourn over the death of Falstaff. It is never said outright what killed Falstaff, but it is clear that after his encounter with King He.
. . your fresh fair virgins and your flow’ring infants . . . What is ‘t to me, when you yourselves are cause, if your pure maidens fall into the hand of hot and forcing violation; (III.iii.3-21) Henry demonstrates a willingness to threaten the Governor of Harfleur in such a brutal manner, claiming that if they choose not to surrender he will show the citizens their worst nightmare. Henry states that he will not leave until he is standing on the ashes of what was once Harfleur and will let his men ravage through the town raping all the young women and virgins of and senselessly murder the innocent children of the town. In the end Harfleur does surrender to Henry, and it shows that Henry is prepared to disregard and even generate unwarranted violence that would take the innocent lives of children and brutally violate the women in order for him to attain his objective.
Cite this BlurredLines of Heroism and Villainy in Shakspeare’s Henry Vs
BlurredLines of Heroism and Villainy in Shakspeare’s Henry Vs. (2018, Feb 10). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/blurredlines-of-heroism-and-villainy-in-shakspeares-henry-v-essays/