Reign of King Henry V (2914 words)

Historical Context Essay

  • Matthew Woodcock (University of East Anglia)


Shakespeare's memorable depiction of Henry V as a model of chivalric kingship, skilled and courageous military commander, and patriotic hero of a unified, ordered England has had a huge impact on how one goes about examining the life and reign of the second Lancastrian king. But just as critics and historians engaged in studying Richard III are confronted with a welter of demonising accounts dating from the Tudor accession onwards, so students and scholars of Henry V must negotiate a series of eulogizing biographical representations produced since the early fifteenth century that emphasize his military prowess, patriotism, piety and diplomatic acumen, of which Shakespeare's is but one. Indeed, as with the villainous Richard, it is often …

Woodcock, Matthew. "Reign of King Henry V". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 June 2006
[, accessed 25 October 2016.]