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“The theme of Honour’s tongue”. Is this a good description of Henry VI Part 1?

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11/01/02 Henry IV Part 1 Question: "The theme of Honour's tongue". Is this a good description of Henry VI Part 1? Henry IV Part 1 is a Shakespearian play of the young Prince Hal who is many ways is not ready to accept his role as the Prince of England. He is immature and disloyal in his father's eyes. He befriends drunkards, socializes in lonely taverns or whore-houses, and, at the beginning of the play, is not a fit prince, let alone a fit heir to the thrown. The second scene of the play - Hal's first - is set in the tavern. We are immediately introduced to Hal's friend, Sir Jack Falstaff. From his title, Falstaff might seem gracious, brave and sensible, some of the qualities that might usually be used to describe one who has been knighted. ...read more.


On the other extreme in the play is a man named Hotspur. He is the son of the Duke of Northumberland and is everything the King wishes his son was; everything which Hal is not. In Act 3 scene 2 of the play, the King tells that his son might have been switched at birth with Hotspur, so that he could have a son to be proud of, not one he would be reluctant to let sit on the throne. Hotspur, Hal's opposite in the play, is hot-headed, valiant, and a good fighter. Hal apparently has none of these qualities, reflected by the people with whom he socialises. Act 2 scene 4 contains the main climax of the play. This is the scene following the robbery. Towards the end of it, Falstaff and the Prince act out a play conversation between the Prince and his father, with the King examining his son on the particulars of his life. ...read more.


However, the play between the Prince and Falstaff is made to reflect the Prince's views. This scene is the first scene of honour within the play, and the scenario itself - that Hal will become King and forget his thieving friends - is the most obvious and important reflection of honour throughout the play. The scenario is also accompanied by another theme of honour within the play. For example, at the very end of scene 1 in the fifth act, Falstaff runs off a speech showing his views on honour. "Can honour set to a leg? No ... or rake away the grief of a wound? No. Honour hath no skill in surgery then? No. What is honour? A word ... air." This contrasts between Hal's views on honour - and how he displays it through the play (rising from the depths of a scum-filled tavern, to go to the battlefield and risk his life) - and Jack's views on the word, magnifies the theme of honour which runs through the play. ...read more.

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