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This just clarifies the fact that Henry is manipulative: the traitors are completely unaware anything is wrong, and the audience is given constant reminders to how Henry is about to act. He appears to act on the interest of the nation ‘seeking no revenge’ and kill the traitors for ‘our kingdoms’ safety’. However it could be doubted that his leadership overrules his personal wants partly because he had already known of the plot for a while. This gives the thought that Henry had carefully been thinking of a scheme to make him not appear as a tyrant.
When he accuses the traitors his language uses exaggeration. He uses rhetorical questions excessively, repeating ‘why, so didst thou’ four times and compares the situation of the men’s betrayal to Man’s betrayal of god. This shows he’s not revealing his true feelings, and trying to gain sympathy through a carefully planned act of making sure that it isn’t perceived as him attaining personal revenge. Towards the end of the Act, Henry has developed into confident leader with the notion God is behind him.
Through his speech he is portrayed as a manipulative leader who is sure of himself and what he is doing. This contrasts his previous speeches which portrayed him as weak and giving the appearance of being tough and eminent. It felt forced as he had been so unsure of himself and shows that such a strong, assertive stance taken in his later speech would have been genuine: ‘we doubt not’. The transformation from being unsure of what was morally acceptable as a leader to a man, who chose manipulation and execution, was incredibly sudden.
It could be said however that the cause of different events led up to this new strong character or perhaps it was the fact that it became clear that his effective role as a leader was needed by more people than just himself. If Henry would’ve left the traitors to live, people would perceive him as weak and easily swayed. If he was to make the exception, his role as a weak leader could be taken advantage. This makes the suggestion that Henry sacrificed his personal interests for those of the nation as he comes to the realization that not doing so will lead his followers to becoming anarchists.
However, Henry believes that to be a strong leader, there is no room for him to be humane which is conveyed through his manipulation in exposing the traitors. Henry. Being humane by showing mercy and being ruthless in regards to the role as a stronger leader, is meaningless. He makes the quick assumption that he is wrong in being moral and should be decisive and abide by the laws – which isn’t always the traits of a good leader.
Henry uses the excuse for his previous (some may say tyrannical) actions for his success in leadership. This insinuates that he is good kind-hearted man who has had to sacrifice his own friendships for the sake of good leadership. However it could also evoke the fact that he is a tyrant using the excuses for leadership as excuses for his own revenge. Shakespeare hints at this through Henry’s rhetoric and complex language contrasting with the inept and prose-written language of the common man.
Regardless of this point, the audience can evidently see the commoner’s grief over Falstaff’s death, whilst Henry sentences them, without showing his true feelings. This evokes Henry’s cold character and suggests that underneath all the different surfaces of his nature, that he is ultimately a tyrant. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Miscellaneous section.