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How is the theme of conflict portrayed in the Prologue of Act III in Henry V?

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invisible62 | eNoter

Posted September 19, 2011 at 7:52 PM via web

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How is the theme of conflict portrayed in the Prologue of Act III in Henry V?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 19, 2011 at 8:17 PM (Answer #1)

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The theme of conflict in this rousing speech by the Chorus is mostly related to the way that the English army is depicted and how its might and bravery is contrasted with the French army in this speech. We are given a vision of an England stripped bear of every able-bodied man that is able to fight, as all are swept up in a patriotic frenzy by Henry's call to war and gleefully leave their homes to fight for Henry. When we arrive at the siege of Harfleur, we are given a picture of the way that the siege engines are said to have their "fatal mouths gaping" on Harfleur, which clearly presents the English as being the superior force that is able to crush the French in their wake. Consider the way that conflict is presented in the following quote:

Suppose the ambassador from the French comes back;

Tells Harry that the king doth offer him

Katherine his daughter, and with her, to dowry,

Some petty and unprofitable dukedoms.

The offer likes not: and the nimble gunner

With linstock now the devilish cannon touches...

The French are presented in this quote as being insulting, deliberately offering Henry "petty and unprofitable dukedoms." Conflict is the immediate response to this paltry and insulting treaty, as Henry responds with immediate force and violence that shows that conflict is a means of getting what you want from those who oppose you.

 

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