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How Is Henry Machiavellian

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How Is Henry Machiavellian
William Shakespeare and Niccolò Machiavelli are arguably the most gifted writers of the sixteenth century. At times, one cannot help but notice certain parallels between Shakespeare’s plays and many important themes found in Machiavelli’s work, The Prince. In this text Machiavelli gives guidance on how to become a successful leader or ruler and then consolidate that power. One Shakespearean hero that can be considered a Machiavellian is Henry in Shakespeare’s famous play Henry V. He can be considered a hero because of how he was able to use his Renaissance prince qualities to better his country. Juxtaposing with the Renaissance prince, Henry the Fifth, is the Machiavellian villain known as Richard of Gloucester, in Shakespeare’s Richard III. …show more content…
Henry had doubts about his leadership qualities, and the reasons the English went to war with the French. He especially has these doubts about his cause after the memorable scene where he dressed as a common soldier and spoke amongst his troops. After this scene he prays to God and said these words: “pluck their hearts from them. Not today, O Lord O not today, think upon the fault my father made in compassing the crown.” Even though King Henry has succumbed to doubt in his mind, he does everything in his power to not let his troops see this uncertainty. Henry makes timely decisions of when to attack and how to prepare for war. Henry the Fifth’s ability to seem confident and make quick insightful decisions is largely the reason that he was a successful political and military leader. A Shakespearean character who clearly contrasts with Henry is Hamlet. Hamlet’s indecision and uncertainty about his father’s death and whether or not he should believe his father’s ghost is what led to his demise. Henry’s quick action and decision making skills is what led him to a successful war in France alongside the loyalty and respect of his …show more content…
Henry the Fifth’s most obvious demonstration of being an effective leader is in his speeches he recited before the two mighty battles of Harfleur and Agincourt. Henry rallied his troops when he said these infamous lines before the Battle of Agincourt: “if we are marked to die, we are enough to do our country loss; and if to live, the fewer the men, the greater share of honour. God’s will, I pray thee wish not one man more.” After this heroic speech, Henry’s troops were victorious against the French, even when there were one to five odds against them. Henry’s effectiveness as a leader does not just stop at his oration skills. In an infamous scene Henry slyly dresses as a common soldier to learn about what the soldiers in his army think about him and the war. From this sneaky encounter with his troops he learns about many of the concerns of the soldiers, such as their reluctance to go to war over a skeptical cause and their nervousness for battle. Henry also portrayed another Machiavellian ideology with his deception of his troops: being able to be slyly move around in the background which could be compared to a Machiavellian

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