Date of Award

Winter 12-18-2017

Document Type

Undergraduate Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts and Performance Studies




Scott Ripley


Shakespeare’s Henry V has long been one of the most ambiguous adaptations of the story of England’s most celebrated historical figure: King Henry V. This adaptation raises the question of why Shakespeare presents Henry V in a way that not only differs significantly from the other accounts of Henry V’s life, but is also entirely ambiguous as to whether this presentation of Henry V’s character is optimistic or pessimistic in nature. In my thesis, I will argue that the ambiguities present in Henry V are actually a result of Shakespeare's own stress over the political succession looming over England at the time of the play’s creation, and how those fears, questions, and concerns over leadership seep into his work.