Kingship Comparison of Henry V and Beowulf Essay

October 2, 2017 English Literature

This essay is a comparing of the kingship of King Henry V in the drama “Henry V” written by William Shakespeare and Beowulf in the verse form “Beowulf” translated by Seamus Heaney. The specific texts to be used for this intent is the “Henry V” book of the Folger Shakespeare Library series and the “Beowulf” verse form found in The Norton Anthology of English Literature 7th edition Volume 1. severally.

Henry the Fifth and Beowulf are ideal male monarchs fit to go function theoretical accounts for the leaders of today because they have great thoughts of their kingship and leading which made them regulation over each of their lands with strength. bravery and religion in God’s Providence as their beginning of power. These similar qualities and features make their kingship successful and fruitful. Henry the Fifth is deserving emulating for he is a great and powerful male monarch who holds his function as a male monarch with highest respect. He manifests his thoughts of kingship through his workss throughout the drama.

First. he sees his kingship as a serious affair. Therefore. he acts responsibly burying the “wildness” of his young person. This is apparent in his sudden transmutation from the wild Prince Hal that he was in the yesteryear to a responsible and mature King Henry V. This is what Canterbury observes and provinces: “The breath no Oklahoman left his father’s organic structure But that his abandon. mortified in him. Seem’d to decease excessively: yea. at that really minute. Consideration. like an angel. came. And whipp’d the piquing Adam out of him. Leaving his organic structure as a Eden. To enfold and incorporate heavenly liquors.

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Never was such a sudden bookman made ; Never came reformation like a inundation. With such a judicious current. scouring mistakes ; Nor ne’er Hydra-headed unruliness So shortly did lose his place. and all at one time. As in this king” ( Shakespeare. 13 ) . This alteration in him is likely because of his desire to be respected as a swayer of his people. Indeed. he has matured over the clip that he is required to stand up as a male monarch. Second. he considers that his kingship depends on the will of the people. Hence. he consults his leaders before he makes a determination.

He specifically asks information from the leaders of the church. the Bishops. about the Salic jurisprudence and his rightful claim to France and if there should be a ground for him to travel to war if the male monarch of France won’t accede to his claim. He besides expresses his concern about go forthing the state to travel to war against France. He eventually decides to travel to France after hearing the advice of the bishops and after listening to the abuse of the Dauphin through his courier ( 19-23 ) . Third. he believes that a male monarch should hold restraint and self-denial. That is why when he was insulted by the message of the Dauphin. he did non respond irrationally.

He showed cool-headedness with these words: “We are glad the Dauphin is so pleasant with us ; His present and your strivings we thank you for. When we have matched our rackets to these balls. we will in France. by God’s grace. play a set to strike his father’s Crown into the jeopardy. ” He besides adds: “But tell the Dauphin. I will maintain my province ; Be like a male monarch. and demo my canvas of greatness” ( 35 ) . Furthermore. he could hold prevented the Dauphin’s courier from coming out alive from England. Alternatively. he allowed him safe transition. If he were some other irrational male monarch. he would hold taken retaliation right off.

But he did non and therefore. he showed his illustriousness as a male monarch. He besides chose his words good in directing his message to the Dauphin through his uncle Duke Exeter ( 75 ) . Fourth. he assumes that a male monarch should be brave and brave to take his soldiers to war. Therefore. he is non afraid to travel to war even if it will be his ain life. He does non go forth his soldiers on their ain to contend for the state alternatively he goes along with them and encourages them to travel on. Henry V admonishes his soldiers with these words: “But every hang-up is smoothed on our manner. Then. Forth. beloved countrymen.

Let us present Our puissance into the manus of God. Puting it straight in expedition” ( 65 ) and “We are in God’s manus. brother. non in theirs. March to the bridge” ( 119 ) . Fifth. he has concern for his subsidiaries and his soldiers. When he was still contemplating to travel to France to claim his rightful topographic point. he thought of the adult females and the kids who will be left behind when the work forces will travel to war ( 29 ) particularly that another state might assail their state if the male monarch and all the work forces are off. He besides became disquieted for his soldiers after he disguised as an ordinary adult male and talked to some of his soldiers ( 153 ) .

This concern is besides demonstrated when he prays “O God of conflicts steel my soldiers’ Black Marias. Possess them non with fear” ( 155 ) . Sixth. he knows that his kingship is non a ground for maltreatment. So when he and his military personnels have taken over the town of Harfleur. he commands his soldiers non to plunder and he tells them to esteem and demo clemency to every citizen in that town. He charges Exeter to hold mercy on the people and demo equity and justness because he wants to win the people’s trueness and regard ( 99 ) . Seventh. he understands that a male monarch should pattern nonpartisanship.

Therefore. he gives penalty to anyone who violates a jurisprudence of the land or his word even if the individual is an old friend. and he gives wagess to anyone who deserves it. King Henry V manifests this characteristic when Lord Scroop who was really near to him. Earl of Cambridge and Sir Thomas Grey who are besides old friends conspired with France to kill him. He so ordered that they be arrested for lese majesty ( 59 ) . Another case was when he allowed the executing of Bardolph. a former comrade in his younger yearss. for stealing a Communion home base from a church ( 115 ) .

Eight. as a good leader he believes that a male monarch needs to depute work to his subsidiaries. This is what he did when he tells his uncle Exeter. brothers Clarence. Warwick and Gloster. and Huntington to “go with the King ; And take with you free power to sign. Augment. or alter. as your wisdoms best Shall see advantageable for our self-respect. Anything in or out of our demands” ( 219 ) . And most of all. he believes on a greater power who is the Almighty God whom he considers as his beginning of power. He continually refers to God in the drama.

King Henry says: “But this lies all within the will of God. To whom I do appeal” ( 37 ) when he decided to travel to war against France. He expresses his anxiousness by stating “God’s will. I pray thee wish non one adult male more. By Jove. I am non envious for gold” ( 163 ) while his soldiers are contending in the war. At the terminal of the conflict. he speaks to God with these words: “O God. thy arm was here. And non to us. but to Thy arm entirely Ascribe we all! – When. without ploy. But in field daze and even play of conflict. Was of all time known so great and small loss On one portion and on th’ other?

Take it. God. For it is none but thine” ( 199 ) . King Henry V does non take the glorification of the triumph in the conflict but he praises God for it. Similarly. Beowulf even before he was made a King of the Geats has the qualities of a good and great male monarch as Henry the Fifth is and he is besides deserving copying as a leader. The following are the thoughts of kingship he manifested. First. Beowulf is compassionate as a leader. When he heard of Heorot’s quandary because of Grendel’s workss. he went to Heorot to contend Grendel and freed Heorot of its wretchednesss ( lines 400-460 ) .

He has compassion towards people that is why he sacrifices even his ain life to salvage others. Second. he uses his strength which is the gift that God has given him as a manner to assist people who are in demand. This is the agencies by which he was able to get the better of Grendel. Grendel’s female parent and the Dragon in order to liberate the people who are attacked by these animals. There are times when he is about to be defeated but because of the great strength which he believes comes from God. he is able to get the better of his deathly and monstrous enemies.

Third. he is a brave and brave warrior who ne’er steps back from a challenge particularly when he fights Grendel and Grendel’s female parent. His courage and bravery can be seen throughout the verse form. This was one time once more proven when as a male monarch who is already old in age still hopes to contend the Dragon that has besieged his ain land. Unfortunately. after he killed the Dragon. he besides died. Fourth. he knows that a male monarch should govern with discretion. He is even praised by Hrothgar with these words: “The Lord in his wisdom sent you those words that Beowulf is fit to be male monarch of the Geats and they came” ( lines 1840-1860 ) .

Fifth. as a leader. he has great concern and duty for his work forces. Therefore. when he was approximately to travel and contend Grendel. he asks Hrothgar to take attention of his work forces because he might no longer come back alive with his battle against the monster. And the most of import of Beowulf’s qualities as a warrior and swayer is that he looks up to God as his beginning of power. counsel and protection. Throughout the verse form. God is praised with such words as: “in victory and gladfulness. The truth is clear: Almighty God regulations over world and ever has” ( line 700 ) .

Beowulf besides expresses in the verse form: “But the Godhead of Work force allowed me to behold- for He frequently helps the unbefriended” and “If God had non helped me. the result would hold been speedy and fatal” mentioning to his battle with Grendel’s female parent. In add-on. he says: “So I praise God in his celestial glorification that I lived to behold” ( line 1779 ) . In decision. Henry the Fifth and Beowulf exhibit the good qualities of a great male monarch anchored on strength. bravery and religion in God’s Providence.

Both of them are wise. strong. brave. and devoted to God as their one and merely beginning of power. They have really admirable traits which any male monarch. swayer or leader in these modern yearss should model after.


“Beowulf” . Translated by Seamus Heaney. The Norton Anthology of English Literature 7th edition Volume 1. Eds. M. H. Abrams and Stephen Greenbalt. USA: W. W. Norton & A ; Co. Inc. . 1999. 29-98. Shakespeare. William. “Henry V” . The Folger Shakespeare Library. Eds. Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine. New York: Washington Square Press. 1995.


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