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Nationhood and Nationalism in Henry V - Essay Example

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Summary to essay on topic "Nationhood and Nationalism in Henry V"
Is Henry V a paean to English nationalism or does it instead expose it as a Hollywood-style fiction This paper addresses this question. Before proceeding any further, it is important to define what a paean is. A paean is an exultant or triumphant song or speech…
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Nationhood and Nationalism in Henry V
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Download file "Nationhood and Nationalism in Henry V" to see previous pages... The literary work is about a king with a common touch in a war situation in which the French greatly outnumbered the English. It depicts a king who is a great war time leader, who, during war, exhibits patriotism - Henry V. Nationalism comes to the fore during wartime, in which participants are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice - giving one's life to one's country.
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Henry V is all about English nationalism, its very own diversity of love for country and fighting for its glory.
Henry V, told entirely from the English point of view, is an almost complete study of the war with France in 1400s, in which the first part looks at the causes of the war, the preparation for it, and the people on the English side. England, led by Henry V was fighting an aggressive war against France for certain territories it wanted to obtain on its side, and staging such war with such intention was the very essence of this English nationalism in this period. During the time of which Henry V lived and reigned, dominant countries like England staged and fought aggressive wars in order to further a certain purpose and sacrificed lives of men to this end. The play's theatrical elements convey a political act, while theatrical interventions are traced in its substantial introduction into conflicts from the Napoleonic Wars to Vietnam and the Falklands.2 Henry V is an epic of English nationalism, considered a knowing and cynical piece of power politics to which its nationalism is primarily based.
One might argue that nationalism and power politics cannot go together, but the very essence of the literature on Henry V shows this distinct character of English nationalism in 1600s. The invasion of territory in order to herald a country as glorious and powerful is what characterised Henry V's nationalism. This nationalism was undertaken by Henry V as a king of the English throne, reaping victories for Her, and Her alone.
Due to the emergence of international organizations and laws regarding warship, such the United Nations, today's purpose and conduct of fighting a war have long left the kinds that Henry V launched and fought. Hence, such war depicted in the epic seems to be confined only in movies nowadays, made into an entertainment or a historical saga. The Hollywood uses it as a film genre that expects to target a general patronage and show a historical drama and/or a documentary film, which learning institutions might use for visual aid in literature. Hollywood might be using it also as a heritage film, depicting the previous century in which England was often in a nostalgic approach, such as filming Shakespeare plays like this one and using splendid landscapes.3 They have been criticized for presenting 'heritage' in the background, such as presenting a stately home in the background and using this genre as both a marketable commodity and a romanticized portrayal of the past. 4
However, as pointed out a while ago, Henry V is not in any way an expose' of Hollywood fiction, but is rather a paean to English nationalism, amidst an almost power politics involved in the intent of staging the war. It is based on the life of King Henry V of England, focusing on the events following the Battle of Agincourt during the Hundred Years' War. Shakespeare was able to convey truthfully the events that transpired in ...Download file "Nationhood and Nationalism in Henry V" to see next pagesRead More
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