• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare and contrast Hal and Hotspur. Note their similarities and differences.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Compare and contrast Hal and Hotspur. Note their similarities and differences. Hal and Hotspur are one of the two most important and instrumental characters in Henry IV Part One. From the outset, Shakespeare intends to set up a comparison between the two rivals. King Henry IV, Hal's father, compares them in the very first scene of the play. After outlining the situation regarding the civil war in the country, Henry tells Westmoreland that Hotspur is "the theme of honour's tongue" (1.1.80). This, together with blatant criticism of Hal's reckless and debauched manner, gives the audience the impression, and indeed this is later stated when Glendower enters, that Henry wishes that Hotspur was his son instead of Hal. As well as introducing the theme of honour, it focuses the audience's attention on comparing these two men. ...read more.

Middle

Falstaff orchestrates and carries out a robbery at Gad's Hill, and then Hal proceeds to rob Falstaff following this. This incident fails to blemish Hal's character. It does, however, show his reckless and genuinely base behaviour. He recognises this when he proclaims that 'I have sounded the very base-string of humility" (2.4.5-6). Hal undergoes a dramatic change in Act three scene two. During this difficult interview with his father, he shows himself to be contrite in admitting his faults. The King compares Hal with Hotspur, whom he claims has more right to rule the country than Hal because of his many 'high deeds' (3.2.107) in battle. This would have motivated Hal to reform since he would not take kindly to this insult. Hal promises to reform and to "be more myself" (3.2.93), indicating his previous persona was a false fa´┐Żade masking the true Hal. ...read more.

Conclusion

This shows that Hal has matured. In contrast to Hal's character at the start of the play, he is very much more sensible. The audience see Hal here as a skilled politician, like his father, offering a sensible solution to the grave problem of civil war that plagued the country. To conclude, at the start of the play, I would have deemed Hal to be a most unsuitable King, and Hotspur as one to whom the title would be most suited. However, during the course of the play, Shakespeare constructs a complex character development for both Hal and Hotspur. At the end of the play, after Hal's triumphant reformation, I would argue that he is by far a more appropriate leader. He possesses all the necessary qualities, diplomacy, courage and honour to name but a few. Hotspur is impulsive, albeit brave, undiplomatic and tactless. To have Hal fighting with him instead of in opposition to him only strengthens Henry's position regarding his previously uncertain title to the throne. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Henry V section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Henry V essays

  1. Comparison of Olivier (1944) and Branagh's (1989) screen adaptations of Henry V

    intensity of 'no-cuts' policy cannot use any headshots to mark Henry's detailed expression. Instead he makes the initiative use of arm gestures to help communicate his thoughts. More crucially in this version Olivier makes use of another zoom out to largely emphasize the grandeur and depth of his speech.

  2. Media Comparative Essay: (in the medium of film) concerning the 2 well known film ...

    Sequentially, another point to acknowledge is the stepping on a twig, gathering attention from the other characters - an obvious film cliché. One could state that Branagh has used a more mainstream technique suitably for ease and to match the film period.

  1. English/ English Literature Joint Coursework Folder

    His direction of a constant view allows the audience to imagine how concentrated Henry's focus is on his subjects. There is a very high self-effacement - a king's desire to be ordinary which is not well carried through in Branagh's due to its somewhat cryptic overshadowing.

  2. What are the functions of the Chorus in Shakespeare's Henry V?

    Although a modern audience can see the scenes vividly, Branagh doesn't want to take away the excitement and originality that Shakespeare had used to make his audience enjoy the play. Branagh makes a few other changes to Shakespeare's Henry V.

  1. Henry V - differences between young and old.

    In the first of these roles, Falstaff serves as a target for the low comedy of Hal, as when the Prince asks the middle-aged glutton how long has it been since Falstaff was able to see his own knees. As often, Falstaff is the source of humorous remarks that revolve around his own faults.

  2. Discussing ‘Honour’ in Henry IV (i)

    At first he is seen as Falstaff's friend and drinking partner, simply a lowly drop out from the royal family rebelling against his father's wishes. However in his own soliloquy he makes a pledge that once the crown beckons to become his he will change his ways and make his father proud of him once again.

  1. Does Henry V offer a patriotic version of Henry's campaigns on the surface while ...

    courage he will, but I believe, as cold as night as 'tis, he could wish himself in Thames up to the neck.' This means that Bates thinks all the courage Henry has shown is just a show and he would rather be back in the Thames up to his neck,

  2. Henry V - Compare the relationship between Hal and Falstaff in two different scenes

    rather than messing about with his friends in the local public house. Hal, unlike Falstaff, has adapted to this change. He is ready to fight but Falstaff can't make that change. He has let himself get into a routine of drinking and gambling that he can't get out of.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work