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Free Study Guide-Henry V by William Shakespeare-Free Book Notes Online
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IMAGERY / SYMBOLISM / MOTIFS / SYMBOLS

A leisurely cumulative style of writing is typical of the play. Even in the heat of the battle the audience has a long vivid and emotionally charged descriptions of the deaths of York and Suffolk. In most Shakespeare's plays there are recurrent images that affect the atmosphere of the play. They often point to the Themes the play is handling. Spurgeon has pointed out that Henry V frequently evokes swift soaring movement, suggestive of the flight of birds. There are many references to wings, like "our wings" (Chorus I), and "winged thoughts" (Chorus V). These often are connected with the Chorus's appeal to the audience to use their imagination. They also suggest the aspirations and the speed of Henry and the English army.

The war-like qualities of Henry and the English are suggested by references to wild animals, lions, hounds and hunting dogs, and birds of prey like the eagle. The violence of war is suggested by references to storms, especially the stormy sea: the tide pouring into a breach, waters sucked into a whirlpool, the ocean cutting away the base of a cliff, tempest, thunder and earthquake.


THE LANGUAGE OF THE PLAY

Henry V is partly in verse and partly in prose. Prose is normally spoken by the lower classes and used for comic scenes. Scenes dealing with princes and noblemen are usually in verse, but may be in prose if the subject is not elevated. The French nobility use prose, when they are just chatting. Henry and Burgundy use prose when they are joking together. Henry also speaks prose in his encounters with Pistol and the soldiers. However, he speaks a more formal and artistic prose than the soldiers. Henry also used prose in his conversation with Katharine where he attempts to show himself as being modest and self-deprecating as a lover.

Verse is used for the more serious and exalted parts of the play. Normally it is blank verse, that is, unrhymed iambic pentameter. Occasionally, rhyme is used, especially in the last two lines of a scene, giving a sense of finality. The Epilogue is rhymed, and is a sonnet, with the rhyme scheme abab cdcd efef gg. The style of the verse passages is dignified and formal and usually expansive. Many elongated speeches are used in this play from the garbled bombast of the Archbishop of Canterbury in the first Act to Henry's reproach of Scroop, that occupies nearly fifty lines.

Effective use is made of proper names. The names of the English nobility are usually also English place-names. Such names summon up the towns and countryside and atmosphere of England itself: Bedford and Exeter, Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester.' The words "England" and "English" occur very frequently. The King's own simplicity and Englishness are suggested by the frequent use of the pet name Harry. These uses of proper names reinforce the play's appeal to patriotic sentiment.

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Free Study Guide-Henry V by William Shakespeare-Free Plot Notes Summary
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