National Pride In Shakespeare's Henry V

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Henry V’s reign mirrors Elizabeth I’s since they both attempt to unify their country, England, by restoring national pride and building a unified nation against centrifugal forces. Henry can only unify his kingdom by defeating France in the war. Since Henry’s nation is at war with the French, their cultures and languages must also be at war. Similarly, Henry V is performed during Elizabeth I’s era to emphasize this cultural superiority of England and revive a similar national pride to that in Henry V. In his historical play, Henry V, Shakespeare juxtaposes Act 3 scene 3 at Harfleur, and Act 3 scene 4, the French scene with Katherine and Alice, as a means to revive national pride in England, provide comic relief, and contrast the lifestyles of men and women. Shakespeare specifically draws our attention to language with a comical, French conversation …show more content…
Many people argue that Shakespeare was ahead of his time by giving women agency and three-dimensional roles. This scene could be another example of Shakespeare using satire to make fun of the fact that women are supposed to center their life on pleasing others, as opposed to focusing on more important things, like war and the state of their country. Katherine’s sole purpose in life is to forge herself into a charming and desirable wife, this is the reason she decides to learn English. Unlike Katherine, the men in this play focus on more pressing topics, like war, power, and violence. Additionally, the scene with Katherine and Alice talking is in an entirely different language than the rest of the play to further underline the differences between male and female lifestyles: the soldiers in the Harfleur scene speak in English with a rough and violent tone, while Katherine speaks in French with a more lighthearted and feminine

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