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Henry V: A good King

             William Shakespeare's Henry V is the culmination of the history plays up to that point showing the movement from a weak king, Richard II, to a strong king, Henry V. In the novel, Henry is shown as a strong, young and likeable king. During the time that is shown through the novel, Henry grows and understands more of what a king should do. When his father Henry IV dies, he is plunged into kinghood. The conflict in the novel is the war between England and France. King Henry believes that his has the right to the French throne and goes to France to take it back. In the beginning of the novel, a French ambassador comes to tell Henry the response to his claim of "some certain dukedoms, in the right of [his] great predecessor, King Edward the Third" (Act I, i, 247-248). The ambassador tells him the Dauphin says that Henry has "savor[ed] too much of his youth" and there is nothing in France that he can claim and then gives him tennis balls. The gift of tennis balls put more insults him even more and causes King Henry to get angry, metaphorically comparing war on France to a game of tennis in which the English are victorious (Act I, i, 260-297). King Henry is not a king who still "savors his youth" but a good, strong king. King Henry is a trustworthy and strong king because he is able to put aside his personal feelings for the good of his kingdom and has a good relationship with the commoners and nobles.
             Putting aside his personal feelings seems to be a difficult thing to do. In order to understand the connection that Henry has to some characters in the novel, we have to go back to Henry IV. In Henry IV, King Henry is Prince Hal; a rambunctious youth that hangs out with, Pistol, Nym, and Bardolph, the lowest of common folk and has fun. One of these folks that Hal hangs with is Falstaff, an old man who becomes like a father to him. But when Hal becomes king, he has to stop hanging around with him and others to take his role as king, rejecting Falstaff and leaving his old friends.

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