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Free Study Guide-Henry V by William Shakespeare-Free Book Notes Online
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THEMES

Major Theme

The major theme of the play is that of patriotism. It has been rightly pointed out that the hero of the history plays is no particular character but represents England at that time. The greatness of England and her national spirit form the main theme of this play.

Another main theme is the reformation of Henry's character from a callow and irresponsible youth to a just and reverent leader. In his youth he has spent his time in the company of thieves and rogues in ale-houses and in the haunts of vice. Henry V, however, projects a reformed Henry, one who understands the serious nature of ruling a kingdom.


Minor Theme

The minor theme of the play is that of order reflected in Henry as well as in England as a whole. The many aspects of Henry's character all culminate in a dynamic yet stable king, who is a political strategist, a just ruler, and a fierce warrior. Shakespeare uses the French as a contrast to exemplify the theme of how disorder in the ruling family results in failure as well as disaster, both financially and socially.

MOOD

An atmosphere of hostility produced by the conflict between the English and the French pervades in the first four acts of the play, yet reconciliation is achieved and peace restored between the two countries at the end.

There is also a mood of reverence towards King Henry. He is an idealized ruler who has very few faults. Even his faults are often presented as another characteristic of a complex character but he never endangers his country or its people without good reason. The play begins in disharmony and ends in a note of harmony.

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