In order to truly understand Shakespeare's attitude to war is, one must look at this play, Henry V in context. In the eight plays from Richard II-Richard III, Shakespeare explores war, from Henry IV usurping the throne from Richard II and his fight to keep the throne, to the Hundred Years War with Henry V and Henry VI, to the War of the Roses with Henry VI to the end of the war with the defeat of Richard III.
He shows the many faces of war from the heroic to the cowardly and from patriotism to horrors of war for everybody concerned. War effects everybody and it isn't pretty.
As a character we have seen the young prince grow from Prince Hal in Henry IV parts 1 & 2 into a hero in Henry V. One of the pieces of advice he gets from his father is to fight in a foreign war which will unite his country against a common enemy. Henry's claim to the French throne was not weak. It was legitimate.
Although in some of his history plays, Shakespeare bent and stretched the truth to tell his story, the...
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