Branagh’s Henry V: An Example Of Pluralistic Shakespeare

In her essay “Shakespeare and Film: A Question of Perspective,” Catherine Belsey argues for the incapability of film to offer the multiple interpretations that the Elizabethan stage presented. “Film is the apotheosis of the modern, and it is in this sense that it inevitably narrows the plurality of an Elizabethan text.” However, Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V, in its awesome deluge into Shakespearean realism, offered so much more than a poetic history. In light of recent military conflicts, the 1989 film presented one man’s awful discoveries while journeying through the horror of battle even in the light of victory. In this essay, I will argue against Belsey’s limitations of film and ...

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that only film can portray truth in today’s image-based society. Instead, the speech ironically implies the realistic nature of film when the Chorus tells the viewer to “Think, when we talk of horses, that you see them, printing their proud hoofs i’th’ receiving earth…” (26-27). That the viewer will eventually see the actual hoofs entails not the interpretive limitation of film, but instead displays its realistic magnificence. Realizing this magnificence, I felt excited to embark on this journey with Shakespeare.
To find this brilliance, I must examine the transformation King Harry undergoes in Branagh’s film. Evidence of reason for Harry to declare war on France exists all through the play. First and foremost, in I.ii., Dauphin, the son of King Charles of France, sends tennis balls as a token of truce—an obvious insult. Furthermore, when Duke Exeter of England visits the French court in II.iv., Dauphin tells him to “Say if my father render fair return it is against my will, ...

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Branagh’s Henry V: An Example Of Pluralistic Shakespeare. (2007, June 24). Retrieved March 8, 2021, from
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"Branagh’s Henry V: An Example Of Pluralistic Shakespeare." June 24, 2007. Accessed March 8, 2021.
"Branagh’s Henry V: An Example Of Pluralistic Shakespeare." June 24, 2007. Accessed March 8, 2021.
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Added: 6/24/2007 11:03:57 AM
Category: English
Type: Free Paper
Words: 845
Pages: 4

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