King Henry, the ‘valiant’, ‘warlike’ and graceful leader is the protagonist in Shakespeare’s story of patriotism, honour and inspiration. Henry is known as cool, cunning and calculating. The four events that prove his character is when he matured from boy to man, his decision to have war with France, his response to the insults from the Dauphin, and finally capturing the three traitors. Harry shows his cool when the Dauphin belittles him with tennis balls. The proud Prince is saying that Henry is only worth playing with a toy.
His cool now turns to fury when he vows to ‘mock’, the ‘husbands’, ‘mothers’ and ‘sons’ of France. The Dauphin can tease and ridicule as much as he likes, but after Henry turns his ‘balls’ to ‘gunstones’, he will be having the last laugh. His calm nature allows him to think first and then react. Shakespeare portrays our King as someone who stands up, and who has the faith to believe in things that are impossible to achieve. His strong beliefs make cool, calm and collected. The King, too, is shrewd and cunning in mind.
He is clever enough to trap the traitors with his words. The Exeter informs that no criminal will go unpunished, by Henry, for ‘they shall be apprehended by and by’. His patriotism for his country his reflected upon the speech addressed to the three traitors. He angers at the fact that they have betrayed the kingdom by selling it to ‘slaughter’, ‘servitude’ and ‘desolation’.
If anyone is plotting against him, he will see the signs in the sky: ‘the King hath note of all that they intend’. He was capable enough to change his attitude, to be a successor from his father.During his youth; ‘his hours’ were ‘fill’d up with riots, banquets, sports.. ‘ Canterbury tells us that the ‘breath’ or the inspiration from ‘his father’s body’ was passed on rather quickly to him: ‘Never came reformation in a flood’. Before the battle; the English army is at low profile.
Their victory will be celebrated with ‘flowing cups’ and ‘households’ will frame their names with praise and glory. Here he sweet-talks them up to boost their morale and to make them fight for their family pride. This shows he can skilfully deal with people.He is also proven calculating, as he had prepared war against Far to make his ‘claim’ to the throne.
With his noblemen, he discussed all the aspects to make sure that each and every move was legal and perfect; ‘let our proportions for these wars be soon collected and all the things thought upon’. Nobles are usually those who are graceful, righteous and honest and Shakespeare uses the low-life characters to represent them because they act unreasonable, greedy and are in constant conflict between each other. Another was to lower the tension and bring the element of humour, keeping the audience at ease.To prevent anymore fighting, Harry had manipulated the crowd by preparing for battle, so that everybody can be brought together by patriotism.
God guides him in every word, thought and deed: ‘Hear him but reason in divinity’. The Lord makes his path clear and so was able to catch out the thieves ‘God so graciously hath brought to, this dangerous treason..
‘. Above all, Henry can be the manipulative and persuasive leader to bring his enemies down. When his army had retreated at the gates of Harfleur, he addresses them to ‘once more’ fight back: ‘Lend the eye of a terrible aspect’.He orders them bring up their anger and fury ‘through the portage of their head’. He relates to their body language and state of mind as if he was a director, in a film, who wants them to perform their ultimate best.
That shows that he is a cunning ‘tactician’ who knows his bad marks and is able to checkmate. Shakespeare creates this character to be very inspirational to the people of England. Shaping him to be calm with his friends and decisive to his enemies. He is the ‘strawberry’ that grows ‘underneath the nettle’. He could be poisonous and sharp but fruitful and gracious.