Thursday, January 15, 2009

RE2: Henry V - Opening Remarks

Great thoughts. I’ll flesh this out more and reply to the whole group, but two things right away:

Toward the end of your reply, you say, in essence, maybe he’s both the man of peace and the god of war – it might be situational. You also ask, even closer to the end, “is this the same manipulation we see in Othello (rude am I in my speech, etc)” or something. The destructive dichotomy I was referring to in my post was exactly the thing you’ve avoided – MUST he be, inwardly and authentically, ONE of those things? EITHER a man of peace OR a god of war? And if he were REALLY a man or peace, that would make his god-of-war talk evidence of some kind of pretense on his part, some manipulation.

My basic and largely unsubstantiated claim, though I didn’t articulate this well, is that for Henry, as for all people, the situation – their immediate context – has some measure of determining force. It’s possible, BECAUSE of the variety of contexts in which we see Henry, for him to be not only the merciful king, but also the vengeful Mars and the sighing lover, as well, all without compromising any basic integrity. Context plays an evocative, drawing-out role for Henry; understood in this way, none of Henry’s various appearances in the world need be any more or any less authentic than any other.


No comments: