Analysis Henry V Speech Battle of Harfleur Showing His Power and Role as a Leader

Topics: Metaphor, England, Battle of Agincourt Pages: 3 (1147 words) Published: October 9, 2012
Analysis of Henry’s speech of Harfleur showing his role as a leader and an inspiration Henry’s speech to his men before the battle of Harfleur is one of the most powerful, inspirational speeches of all time. The speech defines Henry as not only a friend unto his men, but also a powerful leader; ‘Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more’, literally meaning to the break in the walls my friends, referring to the walls of Harfleur. Henry is conjuring his men in a rally, including soldiers, noblemen and commoners, with the use of repetition of ‘once more’ to enforce the fact that this is not the first time it has been done, bringing up the memory of the Englishmen’s warlike ancestors of which they aspire to be like, so that they will follow him in his conquest. The speech holds strong wildly exaggerated themes, to shock the public with what would happen if they were not to fight or help Henry in this great cause. The purpose is partly to prove that the men were fighting for a good reason, and so they can have faith in their leader, but also to inspire them to fight the French ‘or close up the wall with our English dead’, ironic as the hole in the wall of Harfleur is enormous and would take thousands of bodies to even half fill but a thought which would not leave you. Henry V is a negotiator, he reasons with his men, suggesting that men must not always fight, that ‘In peace there’s nothing so become a man as stillness and humility’ the soft ‘s’ sibilance adds a calming tone, and paints a picture of the ideal man, of which most men would inspire to be like, who is calm and good humoured. He goes on to contrast this with ‘but when the blast of war blows in our ears’, the onomatopoeic plosive ‘b’ sound is so loud and clear, as is the war with the imagery of ‘blows in our ears’ shows us that even the ideal man cannot ignore this, will not ignore this and that he must turn from the pacifist to the fighter. The metaphorical language depicts the man turning from...
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