Nevertheless "King Henry V" is not just simple wartime propaganda, it's an ambiguous play which can be interpreted both as a glorification of war or alternatively as a subtle critique of the cruelty and futility of war.
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It lies entirely in the eye of the beholder. Someone with a patriotic point of view might identify himself with the virtuous Henry or admire that - although weakened by plague and famine - the English soldiers and their king defeats a superior French army, whereas a more critical reader might question the legitimacy of waging a war of aggression in the first place. Furthermore particularly modern readers feel disgusted by the killing of the unarmed prisoners at the battle of Agincourt.
Nowadays it would be considered a war cri. Surprisingly, the following scene does not fulfill the audience's aroused expectations. The scene between the two Bishops of Canterbury and Ely reveals a corrupted political system rather than a glorious monarchy successfully led by a glorious king. Concerned about having to pay taxes for their property holdings, both churchmen are willing to support a war against France for selfish financial reasons:.
When Canterbury later presents the arguments as to Henry's right to claim the French crown, it seems that this fact is just a nice side-effect able to serve his and the Bishop of Ely's actual personal intentions. Canterbury's detailed argumentative explanations display how very well this plan was actually prepared. He gives a performance to convince the king as the Chorus gives a performance to lead the audience, just the way Henry himself later gives performances to excite his soldiers for his concern.
As good as Canterbury's performance might be, Henry's integrity is not touched in this scene. Not just willing to start a war at any reason, he asks for prove and also for moral legitimacy: "May I with right and conscience make this claim? Canterbury does not offer moral justifications, but he again gives historical reasons for a potential war. Although no one literally talks about war yet, but rather about the right to claim the French crown, it can be assumed that it is clear in everybody's mind that France will not simply give away her crown.
Kunst - Uebergreifende Betrachtungen.
The legal and moral legitimation of war in Shakespeare's 'Henry V'
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Arbeiten hochladen. Im eBook lesen. In den Warenkorb. The Role of the Chorus in Shakespeare's "Henry V" At first view, the Chorus in Shakespeare's Henry V simply seems to serve two main practical purposes: to lead the audience through the play as regards content, and to form the audience's view on the character of King Henry V himself. Concerned about having to pay taxes for their property holdings, both churchmen are willing to support a war against France for selfish financial reasons: "We lose the better half of our possession" 1.
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Ambiguity in Shakespeare's History Play King Henry V - Michael Trinkwalder - Google книги
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