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Comparison of Richard III and Henry V

Richard III and Henry V are two well-known plays written by William Shakespeare. Both plays explain the different features of the kings in the form of characters of Richard III and Henry V. The characters of Richard III and Henry V successfully highlight the two different personalities in the form of kings who came up with the form of power and supposed to have the throne of United Kingdom.

Both Richard III and Henry V show the different personality features which ultimately impact the facet of power and kingship. Henry V was portrayed as a wise person who came up with the focus to rebuild the facet of the civil war in the country after his father. On the other hand, Shakespeare depicts the character of Richard III as immensely different to Henry V, although they have shared many forms of similarities. Richard III is known as a corrupt person who had no concern for the citizens of England. The difference between the characters of Richard III and Henry V makes it vital to compare both characters critically. Here the particular focus is to compare both the plays of Richard III and Henry V by considering the difference in characters of both King Richard III and King Henry V.

The difference between the characters of Richard III and Henry V successfully indicates how different characters use different paradigms and strategies to impact the kingship of the country. Richard always adopted immoral means to attain the facet of power, while Henry V had an intelligent approach to properly aligning the people of the country with the form of governance and administration. Richard III is depicted as an unconcerned person for his public. In other words, he can be effectively described as a brutal villain who only thinks of himself. The significant point of similarity between Richard III and Henry V can be identified as their focus and determination for their ultimate objective of power and ruling. It is crucial to mention that both the characters adopt entirely different means to fulfil their desires.

The paradigm of authority is entirely different in the case of both the characters of Richard III and Henry V. People of England had an immense level of fear for the power and authority of Richard III, but this is not the case of Henry V. He immensely felt responsible for the welfare of the citizens of the country. He tried his best to gain the necessary level of trust and respect from the people by engaging themselves in matters of government. King Henry V tried his best to attain the trust of the English court and the people of the country about his decisions of power and authority. He made necessary efforts to overcome the effects of war on the country. He chooses the option of making a claim for the land in France to attain an effective level of political stability in the country.

Henry V had the necessary form of support from the public concerning his decisions. Henry decided to initiate the war with France, and the English people had their support in this matter for their king (Shakespeare and De Somogyi). This particular feature became the reason for the ultimate success of King Henry V. He effectively led his force against France and won the battle. This particular event can be considered as the effective leadership approach of King Henry V, which is absent in the case of Richard III. The character of King Richard III never tries to formulate a relationship with the public by trust.

The kingdom of Richard III depicts an entirely different scenario as compared to King Henry V. People have an immense level of insecurity concerning the different rules and regulations set by the King (Shakespeare). It is also crucial to mention that Richard III used different immoral means to achieve the target of ultimate power and kingship. He secretly made a plan to attain the authority of kingship. He brutally fights with everyone who can be characterized as a threat on his way to reach the throne of the kingdom. Undoubtedly, the character of Richard III can be considered a great example of the features of immorality and evilness. Shakespeare portrayed him as a person who can do anything to achieve the objective of supremacy. The particular character of Richard III can be defined as a person who had evil and selfish intentions. Another effective dimension associated with the character of Richard III is that he was sharp and confident enough to execute his plans successfully. He had a cunning and persistent nature, and he went beyond to fulfil his objectives. He always shows a bitter attitude towards people and uses them only for his benefit. He had an immense level of hate for the people and utilized it as the power to gain worldly success. Firstly, He married a noble lady just for the sake of achieving political benefits. He wants to gain an immense level of power, so he builds an association with Lady Anne. The ultimate goal of Richard III was to achieve the opportunity of become a king. He also wants to influence his authority of Edward negatively. He used different means to create deteriorating conditions for Edward and ultimately become successful in his plans.

On the other hand, the character of Henry V can be considered the hero of the play. He shows an immense level of determination during his rule. He always portrays himself as the well-wisher of his people. He takes many steps to approach the citizens of the country effectively. He always felt accountable in front of the people and the court of the country (Pudney). He had extraordinary characteristics which made him noble, and people praised him as the great king. Undoubtedly, he had a charismatic personality who could influence people immensely. He had the effective feature of intelligence through which he resolved many critical issues during his ruling period in England. Another influential feature of the personality of Henry V is that he was immensely determined about his objectives. Once he decided to achieve something, he effectively and efficiently remained stuck to that idea and made the necessary effort to achieve the goal. Shakespeare effectively depicts the character of King Henry V to provide the necessary indications about the aspect of real heroism to the readers. He had a good nature but an immense level of persistence. He had a clear idea of how to react effectively in different situations. He knows very well how to utilize different situations in his favour by influencing different features according to the needs of the situation.

To conclude this, it is necessary to mention that although the characters of Richard III and Henry V are quite different from each other, both have some elements of similarity. Shakespeare successfully depicts both characters to indicate the different sides of the kings who are motivated to achieve their objectives. Both have the intention of gaining power but use different ways to achieve that ultimate goal.

Work Cited

Pudney, Eric. “Mendacity and Kingship in Shakespeare’s Henry V and Richard III.” European Journal of English Studies, vol. 19, no. 2, 2015, pp. 163–75.

Shakespeare, W. King Richard III: Library of Alexandria,

Shakespeare, W., and N. De Somogyi. Henry V. EG: The Shakespeare Folios. Nick Hern Books, 2001,



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