Sean, I didn't get to see your comments before I had to turn in the paper. You made a very good point. And Simone, you are so right too! I did restate my thesis more clearly, but not direct enough. I missed hitting the theme--no surprise. I had a really tough time nailing down a theme in this play.
An update, just in case you were curious. I scored an 83% Not bad, not bad at all. Considering that this teacher is the toughest grader I have ever had, I am happy with an 83%.
Here are the teacher's comments:
Your essay is very articulate, and you establish the difference that is present in the Agincourt speech. The assertions you make about Henry are backed up with evidence. You are willing to make interpretations of his character and to support them with a close look at the text. Anchor those good ideas with a more direct thesis. Then, take your argument to the level of theme. What is the author's ultimate message? Also, never give Sh. the last word. After you quote him, discuss the significance of his ideas.
And here are some of his corrections:
Henry, known as Prince Hal in Shakespeare's Henry IV plays, has a proclivity for the profligate; but in the opening lines of Henry V, "a heady currance scour his faults" (Bishop of Canterbury 1.1.36), and Henry is held up as a mature, scholarly king and the stalwart sovereign of his domain.
I shouldn't have used a conjunction after a semicolon. I felt like the sentence was heavy on commas and that the semicolon would give it a more significant break--kind of like using semicolons in lists that already contain commas. Commas and semicolons can be so complex! I still have a lot to learn.
Even as Henry threatens the town of Harfleur with the rape of its women, the elders' "heads dashed to the walls," and "naked infants spitted upon pikes," (3.3.37-38), he eschews blame for the carnage he threatens by telling the men of Harfleur, "What is 't to me, when you yourselves are cause" (3.3.19).
He says, "Good evidence-now discuss it." He's right. I needed to go into more detail on why I thought this was important.
Henry exhibits immaturity when he toys with people ...
I am lacking a transition.
Henry amuses himself further when he sets up Fluellen to take Williams' blow by having Fluellen wear the glove in his cap and telling Fluellen that "If any man challenge this, he is a friend of Alençon and an enemy to our person. If thou encounter any such, apprehend him, an thou dost me love" (4.7.163-166).
The teacher says, "Again, your evidence is solid (as is the point you are making). After the quote, discuss it." I love to see an example of the perfect paper. I don't quite get how to discuss these types of things.
Henry then has to ask Montjoy where they are.
He says, "Awkward."
In spite of these foibles and follies, Henry is the heroic King and leader of men. Henry is at his best while giving his Saint Crispin's Day speech to his troops.
He likes this! "Nice movement to the complexity of the text."
Henry is elevating even the basest soldier to the exalted position of royal sibling.
He likes this too, "Well-put."
When Henry sets himself apart from his men, he comes across as immature and inexperienced, but when Henry stands with his men as "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers" (4.3.62), Henry lives up to the elevated proclamations of valor and grandeur Shakespeare promises in the opening lines of the play.
He likes the conclusion too, saying, "You make a good distinction here about where the dividing line is between his strengths and weaknesses." (Whew! Those little nuggets leave me feeling like there is hope for my future).