Henry V

Henry V

How does Henry explain the nature of a Christian King in I, ii? How would you compare that with ideal leaders you may find mentioned in the Bible?

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Henry's ability to transform himself that allows him to suppress the disorder at home, he manages to become a Christian king rather than a delinquent. Henry says, "We are no tyrant, but a Christian king; / Unto whose grace our passion is as subject / As are our wretches fetter'd in our prisons" (1.2.241-243). By making his passions limited by state, reason, and self-control he is able to win the support of Scotland as well. This contrasts strongly not only with his spirited youth, but also with the uncontrolled Dauphin who makes a joke of Henry V by sending tennis balls.

It is Henry's great ability to make himself into a Christian king, thereby uniting the church behind him. As a result, he is able to turn the civil wars in England into a unified crusade against France. This allows him to avoid the problems that Scotland normally poses and also to tap into Ireland and Wales for soldiers. His connection with the church further provides him with funds to undertake his battles.