How Has The Context Of Henry IV, Shaped Your Appreciation Of The Play And Its Concerns - Grammar - Essay

1649 words - 7 pages

Jerome Ayad 
“How has the context of Henry IV, shaped your appreciation of the play and its 
Henry IV part I is one of Shakespeare’s more popular plays for a plethora of reasons. 
One being Shakespeare’s ability to draw on elements of English society making the play 
very relatable to its audience. This ability to seamlessly blend in the context of the time 
adds more meaning to the play as a whole. Through this Shakespeare was able to 
address the concerns of his day and display them directly to his audience. Notably 
Shakespeare is able to a pinpoint national fears such as the fear of rebellion and 
invasion as well as the fear of uncertainty when a new monarch comes into power. 
Furthermore, aspects such as the organisation of the rebel’s and the great chain of 
being were explored by Shakespeare to both compliment and legitimise Queen 
Elizabeth for obvious reasons. The context of ​King Henry IV part I ​has shaped my 
appreciation of the play through the intricacy of certain elements and how Shakespeare 
uses these elements to make his play, about past events, relate directly to his audience 
to deliver subtle but clear messages about the state of English society. Also, some of 
these messages still have the ability to relate to current audiences over four hundred 
years after is was written. 
In England during the 1600’s there was religious tensions and a constant 
weariness of invasion due the change of the national religion from Catholicism to 
Protestantism. Shakespeare incorporates this aspect of English society into the his play, 
Henry IV part I, ​through the main conflict in the play, by having this fear of invasion 
come to life in the form of a rebellion. Furthermore, there was tension between 
Catholics and Protestants within England which caused further turmoil. Shakespeare 
uses this fear as the overarching story line of ​Henry IV part I, ​through the rebellion 
against King Henry. The very first lines of the play are of King Henry telling how 
England is in turmoil. King Henry says; “So shaken we are, so wan with care,//Find we a 
time for frighted peace to pant,//and breathe short-winded accents of new broils//To 
be commenced in strands far remote;” Shakespeare uses vivid imagery to describe 
England torn by civil war, he explains that just when he thought tensions in England 
were calming down, something happens. This point is further expressed through the 
phrase “frighted peace to pant” which has the effect of bringing images of peace to the 
viewers mind then personifying it to be panting as if it has run away. By doing this 
shakespeare has been able to set up one of the conflicts. Furthermore, the choice of the 
conflict directly relates to the context as there was a fear of invasion and rebellion 
constantly looming over England in 1600, when the play was performed. This idea of 
conflict and the fear of invasion relates to a contemporary audience given the recent 
rise of terror organization which aim...

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