toxic masculinity, Shakespeare, friendship


Dramatic Literature, Criticism and Theory | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Literature in English, British Isles


Toxic masculinity motivates the characters and plot of Henry V by William Shakespeare. The play revolves around King Henry V and how he is a model leader of England during the Hundred Years War. Henry uses what a “true” man should be to inspire his soldiers when morale is low. Further, manlihood is seen in the characters or lack thereof. Characters that fail to follow the high expectations of masculinity are killed. Audience members recognize the importance of masculinity throughout the play, although the outcomes of those stereotypes are dangerous seen in the superficial friendships and suppression of authentic self.

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