The Importance Of Duality In Shakespeare's Henry V

538 Words3 Pages
Henry’s temper is hard for him to control because he is sometimes faced with situations when he cannot distinguish between King Henry and friend Henry. This duality, paired with the duality that is being a king is an obvious cause for confusion and rage. Henry had such a strong bond with his old friends, that when his new friends were so quick to betray him he was deeply hurt. Another time Henry exhibits incomplete control of his temper is during the battle of Agincourt. Throughout the battle, Henry’s soldiers have taken many French soldiers prisoner and seem to have the advantage. However, Henry’s uneven temper once more gets the better of him when he learns that the Duke of York and the Earl of Suffolk have died. The order is given that “every soldier kill his prisoners!” (IV.6.37). This barbarous order, however, was instead viewed by Fluellen and Gower as heroic because the French killed some children, something that Henry has threatened to do. Moreover, Shakespeare is playing with the reader’s morals here by using unneeded violence to…show more content…
Saint Crispin is the patron saint of shoemakers and, through his speech, Henry shows the roots of his lower status because, usually, a king of England would have no need of knowing. Henry connects with his men further by greatly lowering himself to their level. He dismantles any thoughts of superiority by saying things like, “I am not covetous for gold, nor care I who doth feed upon my cost; it yearns me not if men my garments wear; such outwards things dwell not in my desires: but if it be a sin to covet honor, then I am the most offensive man alive.” (IV.3.26). Henry’s men, if they believe him, can see that he cares about honor more than his kingly possessions. This countered all of the arguments that Henry would rather be back in England which he heard when pretending to be one of
Open Document