Henry V Theme of Patriotism
Henry V is one of the most patriotic works of art we've ever come across. The play is chock-full of rousing speeches that have been carefully crafted to portray the English troops as underdogs that overcome overwhelming odds to achieve victory over the French. What's more, Henry maintains that God is on his side, and he insists that fighting the French is a matter of national pride and honor throughout the play. At the same time, Shakespeare also registers a lot of skepticism about Henry's decision to declare war on France and he portrays several English characters in an unflattering light.
Questions About Patriotism
- Do you think the play is patriotic? Why or why not?
- What is the relationship between patriotism, war, and religion in this play?
- Why do you think Shakespeare portrays four captains from the four different countries (Wales, Ireland, England, and Scotland) that make up Great Britain?
- How does Shakespeare portray the French characters? How are they different from the Englishmen?
Chew on This
Henry V is a patriotic play that celebrates Henry V's brilliant success at Agincourt.
Although the play's tone is often patriotic, Shakespeare also calls into question Henry's motives and justifications for invading France.