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Act III scene I consists solely of a soliloquy by Henry V and is in every respect, the finest war speech in the entire play. A battle speech of one of England’s most famous kings. The speech comes shortly before the famous battle of Agincourt. The scene is Harfleur, and as the English army enters; Henry urges them on with an attiring speech. The speech confirms for the audience the personal and inspiring leadership of King Henry V. His speech is a classic example of refrain, of boosting confidence and raising the courage of his men so that they could carry of such a famous victory. To do so Henry employs strategies for psychological motivation, which comes in the form of language and rhetoric. It’s Henry’s ability and art of using language to persuade which motivates his men to carry on. He is a complete master of political rhetoric and has a sense of the importance of language; he knows what to say, how to say it and when to say it. In the opening of the speech, Henry’s focus is to rouse his men into a killing frenzy. He begins by calling his troops ‘dear friends’, starting the speech of on a personal note. He then goes on to say that in peace ‘humility’ may be a virtue but in war it is required to be cold-blooded and merciless; ‘when the blast of war blows in our ears/then imitate the action of the tiger/stiffen the sinews, conjure up the blood’. Henry desires his men to wear the features of angry tigers. He describes, in great detail the savage features of tigers, urging his men towards rage ‘now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide’. This vivid imagery presents the savage passions of the battle. They must overcome their natural feelings and make themselves tough ‘Disguise fair nature with hard-favoured rage’. Henry goes on to remind them that they are descended from men who were tested by war
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