Rhetorical Devices In Henry's Speech

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Alex Nicholos Dr. Cynthia Gaw English 2050 May 2 2014 Henry V Henry V is a play written by William Shakespeare in 1599. Henry V makes some speeches that oozes leadership and shows that Henry is a natural born leader. Shakespeare expresses the fundamental elements of leadership in the language of Henry V in: The Traitors speech, Gates of Harfleur and the St. Crispin’s Day speech. Shakespeare first shows off Henry V’s leadership skills when he writes the Traitors speech. Henry speaks this when he confronts the traitors about what to do with a drunkard who bashed the king. They say to punish the man and Henry says to show mercy. He then hands them letters, which say that he knows they are traitors. Henry says, “ Read them; and know, I know…show more content…
This speech is different from the others in that he uses very vivid and disturbing images when he is trying to convince the governor to surrender his city. Although this speech does use Henry’s same rhetoric he isn’t leading anyone in a sense. He actually says that if the city doesn’t surrender he will lose control of his army and they will go off and do whatever they want. Henry says, “ your infants spitted upon pikes”(38) which draws a not so pleasant image. It almost leads us to question Henry’s morals if he is willing to kill infants. Although we assume that Henry is just playing up what will happen because he hasn’t lost control of them yet we have to play with the notion that Henry isn’t on as high of a moral ground as we thought even though it might be a just ground. This speech also uses a lot more detail to describe certain events than the other two speeches. He vividly states, “ the blind and bloody soldier with foul hand defile the locks of your shrill-shrieking daughters:”(34-35). This is very detailed and horrific because he is saying he won’t be able to stop his soldiers from raping the women in the city. Henry’s choice of words in this speech show us that not only can Henry influence people into fighting but he can create the illusion that disturbing things will happen if you don’t do what I say. This actually isn’t the best type of leadership because he his leading with fear. It is an effective form of leadership but it is one that doesn’t always work
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