Explain and interpret Henry V, Act IV,
Topic: Explain and interpret Henry V, Act IV, Scenes 2, 3 and 4. Explain and interpret leadership in business and its relevance to Shakespeare’s Henry V, Act IV (especially Scene 3). Explain Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Acts III and IV and relationships with Sha
Please read and watch these videos and analize these characters
Read lecture below.
Read Shakespeare in Charge, pp. 1-41, 77-128. THESE READINGS ARE AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD IN DOCUMENT RESOURCES. (Required. It is also recommended that 1-17 are read before one views the Henry V video clip; this will provide you with some background.)
View film clip from Henry V. Go to Henry V Video in the Module to the left.
Read Shakespeare’s Henry V, Act IV, Scenes 2, 3 and 4. (Required. These are the scenes in the film clip. I recommend reading the background in Shakespeare in Charge 1-17 and viewing the film clip first). Go to: http://www-tech.mit.edu/Shakespeare/henryv/henryv.4.2.html . This will take you to Scene 2. Click on ‘Next Scene’ at the top to continue with the reading. Henry’s speech is in Scene 3.
(Recommeded but not required) Shakespeare’s Henry V in its entirety. You may find this text, as well as all of Shakespeare’s work at: http://www-tech.mit.edu/Shakespeare/works.html
View film clip of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Go to Caesar Video in the Module to the left.
Read Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Acts III and IV. Go to: http://www-tech.mit.edu/Shakespeare/julius_caesar/julius_caesar.3.1.html . Press ‘Next Scene’ to move to Act III, Scene 2 and so on.
Post discussion contributions, due 11/25.
(Recommended but not required) Read Julius Caesar in its entirety. Go to: http://www-tech.mit.edu/Shakespeare/julius_caesar/index.html
Here we depart from the study of Van Doren, the study of the progress and failure in human knowledge, and settle into a different kind of study: a study of human behavior and experience in art and how art can inform and educate us about our personal and professional lives.
In Module 4, in our examination of the Renaissance, we find that art focuses more on more on human beings, ways of life, and common human experience. Art endeavors to expose and express diverse points of view and perspectives, not the perspectives of the elites, the noble classes, the Church, the saints, or even classical themes, but the perspectives of people. This kind of artistic endeavor begins with perspective painting, and in literature we see the slow progression from the ambitious Petrarch and Boccaccio, who spend their energy trying to recover lost classical literature and traditions, to writers like Cervantes, who writes playful stories and fantasies for an audience that becomes more and more literate, in societies where books become more and more available.
Shakespeare is in some way the artistic pinnacle of the effort in the Renaissance to capture what is human. His characters, his plays, regardless of their themes, are studies in people, their feelings, their motivations, their passions, their lusts, their irrationality, their contradictions, their beliefs: whatever concerns the soul of persons, one will find in the pages of Shakespeare.
In our study of Shakespeare we will first focus on merely one small portion of one Shakespearean play, Henry V, and consider what we can learn about leadership. Our text, Shakespeare in Charge, presents a schema for how interpretation of this play can reveal a great deal about desirable traits and strategies for business leaders. Here is an outline of some of the points of interpretation to consider:
Using the Shakespearean character Henry the fifth as an exemplar of a good leader the text suggests identifies the following desirable traits:
The ability to perceive and understand the character traits and experiences of others. Knowing the people you lead. Having insight into their character.
Attitude and policies of inclusiveness.
Attention and reaction to malperformance.
Awareness and knowledge that the personality and style of an organization is set at the top: corporate culture is established from the top down.
Careful attention to equipping and motivating the organization and people properly.
Articulating a cause, a reason for the organization that inspires deep motivation.
Awareness that doubt grows exponentially and must be stemmed and reversed as quickly as possible.
Attention to opportunities, taking advantage of them, knowing that time is of the essence.
Courage: knowing your market and your people and what your products, what your organization, stands for.
Clear vision. The ability to coherently and without bias assess human character, complex facts, and likely future outcomes.
Attending to details and getting things right.
Honesty, straight talk, the ability to take criticism and be flexible.
Good judgment, that is, the ability to properly evaluate deeds and the abilities of staff, valuing experience.
Read the required text in Shakespeare in Charge. Then, view the video and read the relevant scenes in Henry V, paying special attention to the famous speech of Henry in Scene 3. Our topics in discussion will concern what we can learn about being a leader from Shakespeare’s depiction of the young King at the battle of Agincourt.
The video clip starts at Act IV, Scene 2. The Duke of Orleans, Dauphin, and then the Constable of France look down upon the English troops and anticipate a gruesome victory; they are full of confidence:
“The sun doth gild our armour…” says the Duke of Orleans confidently as the scene begins (the very beginning of the scene is not in the film). And at the end of the scene the Constable of France, anxious for quick victory says, “The sun is high, and we outwear the day.” This is irony: the sun does not shine on France this day.
Scene 3 is the most important for our purposes. Henry the young king rallies his beaten, hungry and weary troops, and then refuses an offer of surrender from Montjoy. Read Shakespeare in Charge 1-17 for more complete background on these scenes, which are brought to life very nicely in the film.
The death of Julius Caesar and the end of the Roman republic. Students are required to read the entire third and fourth Acts. The film clip begins in the middle of Act III, Scene 1 with the famous line ‘Et tu Brutus’ (And you Brutus) and continues to the end of scene 2. Lecture will concern only this portion of the play. But, Shakespeare in Charge discusses portions of Act IV (as well as material in Acts 1 and 2, which is recommended reading), and students are also required to read that scene.
Augustine and Adelman discuss a variety of important topics in the text relevant to what they call ‘Making Your Play In Business’. They interpret these scenes as involving something analogous to competing CEOs and corporations making crucial decision that will decide the outcome of a business competition. You should read all of this very interesting commentary, take careful notes, and try to relate the ideas in the text to your own experiences. In lecture I would like to focus on one aspect of this competition between the Brutus-Cassius group and Mark Anthony, namely, how the very different characters of these men are reflected in their actions. In examination of these characters we find that certain traits of character and knowledge are better suited than others to achieve the desired goal of influencing the Roman mob. Are these same character traits and knowledge also desirable for the business professional?
As Augustine and Adelman note, Brutus was influenced by Stoic philosophy. He believed in the preeminence of reason, the obligation to conform one’s will to universal law, and the ideal of freedom. Human beings should be free to choose and shape their destiny. Only in this way was a moral life possible for the Stoics, since the unhindered use of reason was the only path to virtue. Rule by tyranny placed the law not in the hands of people, who could rationally discuss and judge what is best for the state, but in the hands of one man. This would not be rule by rational freedom of choice but by the desires and whims of one tyrant. Brutus was against the establishment of a dictatorship under Caesar on principle. No matter how much he loved Caesar, the rational grasp of what was right commanded him to stop Caesar from becoming the tyrant of Rome.
Cassius, on the other hand, was a duplicitous, ambitious noble, who wants to get rid of Caesar for personal gain. But Cassius cannot take Caesar by himself, he is not strong enough, and, as we learn in the play, he is himself a bit of a coward. He does not want to take the lead and make the crucial decisions. He prefers to organize the team, set it on its path, and try to steer it in the right direction; but he is not decisive and courageous enough to influence the decision making of the group, which he leaves to Brutus.
So, Cassius enlists Brutus to help him achieve his goal, the man of principle, the man of virtue, someone contrary to himself. He grants Brutus the right to lead. Unlike Brutus, Cassius is prone to swings of emotion, uncertainties, and anxieties, some of which are well grounded. Brutus is the rock of reason and principle. Cassius prefers to stand behind this figure and ride on his coattails, even though his better judgment tells him that Brutus is leading the group to disaster.
Mark Anthony is characterized as a clever, opportunistic man, who above all understands the emotions and values of people and how those emotions can be manipulated. Read the speeches of Anthony in scenes 1 and 2 carefully. What kind of knowledge does he possess? What gives him the ability to evaluate the contexts of both scene 1 and scene 2 so that he knows just what to do and say to achieve his goal?. He even has the presence of mind to stop himself from revealing his true intentions when his emotions are about to get the better of him. He knows just what actions to take, the handshakes, carrying the body of Caesar, reading the will. And he knows how to read his adversaries and his audience. He seems to understand them. His clever, strategic thinking and his insights into people are shown right form the start. Why did Anthony send the messenger first? What information did he gain by sending the messenger? As Anthony engages Brutus and negotiates, does Anthony have an understanding of Brutus that even escaped Brutus himself?
Also, contrast the goals of these two men. Brutus acts from reason and principle, but what motivates Anthony? Was his goal decided even before he spoke with Brutus and Cassius? How did he manage to conceal it until the right moment?
What does Anthony know that Brutus does not? And is this the kind of knowledge that is valuable to a business leader? These questions we will will take up in discussion.
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