Holinshed Vs Shakespeare Analysis

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While Holinshed and Shakespeare portray King Henry as both a Machiavellian king and a Christian king in their works the Chronicles of England, Ireland, and Scotland and Henry V, the writers do have biases. Holinshed tends to show Henry in a more virtuous and kingly manner, while Shakespeare writes him as a ruler moving pieces on a board in order to achieve what he wants. A major difference in how Holinshed and Shakespeare characterize Henry can be seen in the infamous tennis ball scene. The tennis ball embassy is arguably the tipping point in Henry’s decision to go to war with France. As such, the way a writer builds this scene has much to do with how the reader views Henry and affects one’s opinion of Henry throughout the rest of the work.…show more content…
This insult, of course, is not well received by Henry. The basis of the scene remains the same in both Holinshed’s and Shakespeare versions; the embassy is sent, Henry reacts with little amusement, and fires back that he will “toss him some London balls that perchance should shake the walls of the best court in France” (Holinshed 545). Where the difference lies between the two writings is how they handle the scene. Holinshed’s version of the embassy is very short, brief, and to the point. The insult is received, and Henry defends his honor as well as England’s. In this way Holinshed makes Henry appear as a king who is simply defending his rule and the integrity of England. There is no source for any Machiavellian undertones in Holinshed’s text. Shakespeare, however, elaborates…show more content…
Holinshed depicts Henry as a king who responds appropriately to an insult to himself and England. Shakespeare, on the other hand, delves deeper and gives Henry a more sinister spin. The inclusion of abrasive language and phrases that turn the blame for destruction onto the Dauphin in Shakespeare’s Henry V clearly paint Henry in a more Machiavellian light than in Holinshed’s
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