French In Henry V

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Explore the Presentation of the French Characters in Henry V Shakespeare’s play ‘Henry V’ is a play based on the famous battle of Agincourt between the French and the English. It portrays the English to be loyal, courageous and passionate and Henry to be an extremely strong King who encourages his country in battle. The French are used to create a direct contrast to the noble English and are portrayed as overly confident, arrogant and not as intelligent as the English which eventually leads to their downfall. The English characters have French counterparts to enhance the good characteristics of the English and Shakespeare has used this technique to satisfy the target audience of English people. The French undermine Henry V’s maturity and do not give him credit for how much of a strong leader he is. The Dauphin (French character) sends Henry tennis balls as a jest to illustrate that he thought Henry was immature and rebellious as he was previously in his childhood, and wanted to mock him. What the Dauphin doesn’t realise however is that Henry is no longer the young Henry and has grown up to become a strong and mature king. However, Henry deals with this in a careful and devious way and is very sarcastic and pleased when he first receives the gift. His tone however quickly changes when he realises the contents of the gift and starts to threaten the Dauphin using the extended metaphor of a tennis match. The language used implies that Henry is saying he is ready for a war between them. When Henry receives the tennis balls he gets annoyed and says “pleasant prince this mock of his hath turned his balls to gun-stones; and his soul shall stand sore charged for the wasteful vengeance”. Henry is using more threats and the use of alliteration of the repetition of the letter ‘p’ helps Henry to emphasise what he is saying and how he is spitting out his words which turns
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