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An exploration of Shakespeare’s presentation of Prince Hal in King Henry the Fourth Part One

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Chris Randall Final Draft An exploration of Shakespeare's presentation of Prince Hal in King Henry the Fourth Part One In King Henry the Fourth Part One Hal is a very intriguing character, also being the most complicated and detailed. He has a gradual journey throughout the play to becoming a king and reveals himself bit by bit to the audience and other characters. It is with this in mind that I will start to study and analyse the main features of Hal, his relationships with the other characters in the play and how the opinion that others have of him and how he actually is differ from each other. By the time that Henry the Fourth Part one was being performed, the character of Hal had already been established. He is mentioned by King Henry, his father, in Richard the Second and his opinion of him doesn't appear to be that good, with him asking the court, "can no-one tell me of my unthrifty son?"(Richard II, Act 5, Scene 3, line 1) Hal is portrayed as this prodigal son who keeps company with "loose and unrestrained companions" (Richard II, Act 5, Scene 3, line 7), frequently being seen in taverns and being everything a future king shouldn't be. ...read more.


Falstaff then seems to plead directly with Hal, rather than act to the crowd around them, asking him not to banish Falstaff and then finally ending with the lines, "banish plump Jack and banish all the world" (Act 2, Scene 5, line 485). Hal's response shows another progression in his journey towards becoming king and it can be taken in different ways. He answers "I do, I will", which could be broken into two separate parts. The "I do" could be seen as playing along with the rest of the practical joke, saying that King Henry would banish Jack, while the "I will" part shows that Hal may be considering getting rid of FalstaffalHal . He shows that he still needs him but when the time comes he will be ready to banish him and acknowledges that he will have to be rid of him to become a good king. All through this time of King Henry undermining Hal, the two characters have not been seen together in the plays. In Act III Scene II they finally meet because of the war with Hotspur and the other rebels. Henry immediately launches into a verbal attack on his son, asking whether God has decided to punish him for the bad things he has done. ...read more.


Before the battle has begun and people are negotiating between the two camps, Hal says that to stop the war he would have a single fight with Hotspur to resolve the matter. This demonstrates how much Hal has changed as earlier in the play he does not appear ready to take on someone like Hotspur, yet he is willing to fight him. He also praises him very highly, saying he does not think that a braver, more daring, bolder man is alive. This again is the difference in Hal, his attitude has matured and he has become courteous and princely and he acknowledges now that Hotspur is more than his equal. Hotspur on the other hand still mocks Hal and does not appear to listen to any praises or warnings given against Hal. This shows again how Hal appears to be the only one in the play who can change and control his destiny. In conclusion Hal is presented in King Henry the Fourth Part One as a moral character. He proves to people that you can change and become what you want or have to, no matter what people think of you. I think that he is also there to show how stubborn and single-minded people can be and he is there to emphasise this fact even more with how he can change and they can't.otspHoHH ...read more.

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