Shakespeare's Henry V - A Multi Dimensional Character Analytical Essay by Colby

A look at the multidimensional character of King Henry V in Shakespeare's work of that name.
# 150811 | 3,700 words | 0 sources | 2012 | US
Published on Apr 25, 2012 in Literature (English) , English (Analysis) , Shakespeare (Henry IV, V)

$19.95 $9.95 Buy and instantly download this paper now

Chosen as a "Paper of the Week":

Paper of the week

Henry V, best known for a string of military successes in the Hundred Years War and his victory over France in the Battle of Agincourt, is a well-known figure in history, both for his leadership skills as well as his ruthlessness.  His reign began on March 21, 1413 and ended when he died in 1422.  No doubt, William Shakespeare’s famous play about Henry V has also made this kind a lasting figure in history.  It is, therefore, fitting that we chose paper # 150811, titled, “Shakespeare's “Henry V” - A Multi-Dimensional Character”, as this week’s Paper of the Week on AcaDemon.  This 10-page paper is an in-depth analysis of Shakespeare’s treatment of Henry V and his portrayal of Henry V as a real person with a ‘character stressed across a spectrum’ rather than a static personality.  The paper focuses on Shakespeare’s portrayal of the King as a man of many contradictions, and how this portrayal makes the audience see him as a multi-dimensional and complicated character.  Many lines from the play are cited and analyzed to add support to this insightful review of Shakespeare’s “Henry V”.


This paper presents an in-depth discussion of Shakespeare's contradictory portrayal of Henry V in his play of that name. According to the paper, Shakespeare forces us to look past the man as a politician and war hero, to consider Henry as a complex and ambiguous character, as multidimensional as much as every man. The paper also demonstrates how even as a man in conflict, King Henry always appears to his subjects a man of strength and resolve. These ideas are supported by salient quotes from the text of Henry V. The paper also analyzes various scenes that are considered pivotal in terms of plot and characterization. The paper concludes by stating that Shakespeare's Henry V is a real man whose actions often seemed ambiguous.

From the Paper:

"Judging by this speech, King Henry seems a leader with the interests of truth and justice at heart, fully aware of the consequences of war, and respectful, especially, of the authority of God and religion. On a closer inspection though, one finds it odd that the King would defer the responsibility of war to his archbishop with the words "We charge you". Additionally, after his endorsement of the archbishop's convoluted and weakly supported argument (which we already know to be motivated by monetary concerns) one sees that King Henry is not, in fact, solely concerned with justice but, instead, would most likely wage war with France by whatever ill-supported counsel and for whatever weak reasons. One gets the impression that the interpretation of the law Salique and his archbishop's blessing do not substantiate King Henry's declaration of war, but only served as a way to post-rationalize it. King Henry had already made up his mind to go to war with France. Again, though, it is hard to view King Henry in strictly evil terms because there is evidence that he recognizes the weight of the issue and, by his repetition of phrases like, "May I with right and conscience make this claim?", a close reader understands that King Henry is not altogether assured of his cause, is not the decisive King that he would appear, but a man in conflict."

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Shakespeare's Henry V - A Multi Dimensional Character (2012, April 25) Retrieved October 03, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Shakespeare's Henry V - A Multi Dimensional Character" 25 April 2012. Web. 03 October. 2023. <>