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The Real King Henry

            In "The Elizabethan World Picture" Eustace Tillyard argues that the Elizabethan era is run from a cosmic order (Tillyard, 91). On the surface of Henry V, Shakespeare poses a convoluted image of King Henry. He crafts Henry with a seemingly different personality throughout the play. Some would argue that the true Henry is either merciless, as seen in 3.6 when he has his childhood friend hung for looting, empowering, in his rousing speech in 3.1, or loving, when he attempts to woo Katherine in 5.2. However, I will prove that the authentic Henry, beneath those social masks, is a manipulative Machiavellian ruler. To fully understand the Machiavellian nature of King Henry, an analysis of the different components of his being is necessary. I will show how he is a man who has removed himself from the image his father left him and leads his subjects through calculated political actions, seen in 2.1. Additionally, that he is a King who becomes aware of the needs of his people, seen in 4.1, and preserves them via a mastery of military, seen in 3.3. He rules in this manner because, according to the cosmic order Tillyard describes, his power to command comes directly from God.
             In the first scene Henry appears in, his cunning manipulative method of establishing order becomes immediately clear. He speaks directly and narrowly with Canterbury. By beginning with "And God forbid" (2.1.15), Henry swiftly establishes himself as the ideal Christian king, by bringing the ultimate form of cosmic order into the discussion. Because he is believed to be a descendant of God (Tillyard, 91), Henry references God to elicit fear in Canterbury. This reference is also used to ensure Canterbury is speaking from a moral place. All that lies within the heavens and earth has a set place. In heaven, God created hierarchies as a method of establishing order. This consisted of God at the top followed by archangels and angels.

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