How did Henry V portray the themes of heroism and honor?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

But if it be a sin to covet honor,

I am the most offending soul alive. [Henry, in Henry V, 4.3.31-32]

Honor is of the utmost importance to King Henry V in Shakespeare's Henry V. Henry views honor as something to be won but not something to be won for himself. He believes that honor must be won on behalf of something that is larger than himself. For Henry, achieving honor is the result of achieving glory for England.

Henry learned about honor from his companion Sir John Falstaff in an earlier play, Henry IV, Part 1. Falstaff considered the pursuit of personal honor, glory, and recognition as pure vanity and ultimately worthless.

FALSTAFF: Therefore

I’ll none of it. Honor is a mere scutcheon [Henry IV, Part 1, 5.1.140-141]

Falstaff believed that honor was not something a person sought, or fought, to attain but that honor was something that came to a person as a result of their unselfish heroic deeds.

FALSTAFF: I like

not such grinning honor as Sir Walter hath: give me

life: which if I can save, so; if...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 854 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team