Many modern critics have commented on the attitudes to war presented in the play. Using the two speeches,
“… deliver up the crown … in this controversy” (Act II, Scene 4)
“… On your noblest English … And teach them how to war,” (Act III, Scene 1)
as starting points,
And any further productions you might have seen or heard, e.g. Olivier, Branagh and OU cassette versions,
· Explore the ways, in which you think Shakespeare dramatically presents war and its consequences in the play as a whole.
· How the attitudes of war have been dramatically presented in the play as a whole have affected the Olivier, Branagh and OU productions.
Many modern critics have commented on the attitudes to war presented in the play. This can be seen in the two speeches, “Deliver up the crown … in this controversy”, (Act II, Scene 4) and “On, on you noblest English … And teach them how to war,” (Act III, Scene 1).
Within Act II, Scene 4, we see the French King orders his nobles and his son to strengthen the defences against the English invasion, ‘It is most meet we arm us ‘gainst the foe’ (Act II, Scene 4, pg.90). The Dauphin agrees that precautions should be taken but refuses to accept that the English King is a serious threat. He brushes aside a warning from the Constable of France who believes that Henry has changed. We are here reminded that Henry has cast off his previous idle ways. This builds up our anticipation to see him in action.
Act III, Scene 1, brings us to the siege of Harfleur. King Henry rallies his men for one more attack on the town. He calls on them to summon up their most fierce and aggressive qualities and reminds them of the victories of their forefathers. To achieve his purpose, Henry uses several approaches in his speech. He calls his men ‘dear friends’, implying that they are his willing companions. He prompts his nobles to live up to the exploits of their forefathers and to set an e...