Write an Analysis of King Henry’s Speech (from Shakespeare’s play, Henry V)

Here’s the situation in Act 4, Scene 3 of Shakespeare’s Henry V: The year is 1415 – a time when men fought with swords and wore suits of armor. Britain’s King Henry is leading an invasion of France, and the war has come down to a final battle. Who will win – England or France? At first glance, it looks like the French army has an overwhelming advantage. They have five times as many soldiers as the English army. But the English army has a secret weapon. The English have a King who knows how to rouse his troops with the powers of language and rhetoric. And drawing upon these powers, King Henry of England will give his troops the mother of all pep talks. That pep talk is what we’re analyzing here in Essay #2.
On October 24th (known as the eve of Saint Crispin’s day on the old Catholic calendar), King Henry’s army is encamped across the battlefield in France called Agincourt. On the other side of the battlefield, the French army is setting up their camp. The battle has been arranged to begin at dawn on the following morning. As I mentioned before, the British forces are outnumbered by five to one, and this fact is plainly visible to every British soldier in King Henry’s army as they look across the battlefield as night begins to fall.In order to check on the morale of his troops, Henry has disguised himself as a common soldier to move among his men and eavesdrop on their conversations. He learns that they are very much afraid of getting slaughtered, and that many of them wish to break ranks and sneak away before the battle starts. One of Henry’s bravest generals, the Earl of Westmorland, cries out that he wishes they had another 10,000 soldiers so that it would at least be a fair fight tomorrow. At that moment, Henry throws off his disguise and presents the following speech, chock-full of persuasive tricks, in order to prepare his men for the bloody fight against a superior force. History records that Henry’s army did indeed win this battle, which was decisive and ultimately ended the war with victory going to England. This speech, Shakespeare implies, was instrumental in securing Henry’s surprise victory over the full might of the numerically superior French army.Your assignment is to identify and explain the sequence of persuasive moves that Henry makes over the course of this speech. His men – outnumbered five to one – were subsequently able to defeat the French after listening to their King’s rhetoric. They were so inspired by this speech that they were able to out-fight the French. So what exactly did King Henry say to inspire his men? How did this speech light the necessary fire within them that would make them fight like lions in this apparently hopeless battle? Walk me through Henry’s speech – step by step — and explain King Henry’s persuasive moves as he transforms his terrified men into blood-thirsty super warriors. Go slow and really explain exactly how each persuasive move – how each image Henry invokes and each emotion that Henry arouses – inflames his men to outfight the French.Note: In your analysis, I also want you to refer to one (or more) of our textbook’s selections regarding the power of language and rhetoric. Explain how Henry’s particular rhetorical moves seem to correspond to the rhetorical moves that we’ve seen deployed or described in this unit.I’m looking for a step-by-step process-analysis here. Break King Henry’s speech down into a series of persuasive strategies that build upon one another. Explain how Henry – step-by-step – transforms his men over the course of this speech.(Assignment length: approximately 1,000 words)King Henry’s Speech from the play, Henry V, by William Shakespeare
Note for citations: refer to specific line numbers – given at right – when you quote from King Henry’s speech in your essays. Use MLA format for citing line numbers in-text, and a full MLAcitation of this speech as it appears on our Canvas website on your Works Cited page. Refer to the essays in our textbook as you explain each step in King Henry’s persuasive performance.
WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here 16But one ten thousand of those men in EnglandThat do no work to-day!
KING HENRY. What’s he that wishes so?My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin; 20If we are mark’d to die, we are enoughTo do our country loss; and if to live,The fewer men, the greater share of honour.God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.By Jove, I am not covetous for gold, 25Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;It yearns me not if men my garments wear;Such outward things dwell not in my desires.But if it be a sin to covet honour,I am the most offending soul alive. 30No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honourAs one man more methinks would share from meFor the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host, 35That he which hath no stomach to this fight,Let him depart; his passport shall be made,And crowns for convoy put into his purse;We would not die in that man’s companyThat fears his fellowship to die with us. 40This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,And rouse him at the name of Crispian.He that shall live this day, and see old age, 45Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot, 50But he’ll remember, with advantages,What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,Familiar in his mouth as household words–Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester– 55Be in their flowing cups freshly remembered.This story shall the good man teach his son;And Crispin Crispian shall never go by,From this day to the ending of the world,But we in it shall be remembered. 60We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;For he to-day that sheds his blood with meShall be my brother; be he never so vile,This day shall gentle his condition;And gentlemen in England now-a-bed 65Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaksThat fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day. 68[The entire British Army roars ferociously,ready to face the French and win]