Leadership In Shakespeare's Henry V

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Throughout history, we have seen many great leaders marshal and inspire their men. From Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr, to Alexander the Great and Winston Churchill. Although undoubtedly different in their styles and methodologies, it is without doubt that all of these people were very strong and effective leaders. In William Shakespeare’s Henry V, we are also presented with different leaders – King Henry, King Charles IV of France, and the French Prince, the Dauphin. Throughout the text, the leadership styles and methods of these three men are conveyed to us, and it becomes evident that their styles are quite different. But in the text, what makes a good leader? What characteristics of the leaders make them successful, or not?
One leader in Henry V is King Henry himself. King Henry is portrayed to us as the main leader within the English ranks and an important component of their strategy. One characteristic of Henry’s leadership is that he is able to forge close connections with his men. During the Battle of Harfleur, we see him describe his men as “dear
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He is able to inspire, intimidate, motivate, arouse and persuade, just by using his words. In the speeches he gives before battles, Henry is able to inspire his men for battle. One way he does this is by painting visions of the future. For example, in his St. Crispin’s day speech, he promises that “He that outlives this day, and comes safe home” will have a day in their honour. This is effective in motivating his men to fight hard and win the battle. However, motivation is not the only thing that King Henry is able to do with his oratory. He is also able to use his words to intimidate, as he does when he threatens the Governor of Harfleur that if they do not surrender, he will not “leave the half-achieved Harfleur / Till in her ashes she is buried”. Henry is able to affect people with his
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