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

Discuss Shakespeare's portrayal of Hal in Henry IV Part One.

Extracts from this document...


Discuss Shakespeare's portrayal of Hal in Henry IV Part One Shakespeare wrote 10 history plays in all, 8 of these make up a series of 2 tetralogies, or sets of 4 plays each. Placing them in chronicle order, the metrologies are: (1) Richard II, Henry IV part 1, Henry IV part 2, and Henry V, (2) Henry VI part 1, Henry VI part 2, Henry VI part 3, and Richard III. Henry I part 1 was written in 1596-1597, and was and still is one of the most popular Shakespeare plays ever written. The reason it is not so popular as other plays such as Romeo and Juliet (tragedy) and Taming of the shrew (comedy) is that it is a history play. Contrary to popular belief history plays are not completely historic and do contain main humorous and romantic scenes, characters and settings. An example of this is Falstaff, adored and loved by audiences in both past and prescence. He was so popular that another 2 plays were wrote about him. (Henry IV part 2 and Merry Wives of Windsor) Although Shakespeare wished to the play as close to the historical truth as possible he also had to make sure that he did not upset the Tudors in doing so. He must infact be careful to praise the Tudors. Elizabeth was in reign and so if he had upset the queen in any way there could have been a severe price to pay. After Edward III died, his successor Richard II took over. He was later murdered and it was thought that Bullingbrook (Henry IV) had had him killed so that he could take the throne. There was still however a stronger claim to the throne, Edmund Mortimer; descendant of Lionel, Duke of Clarence. ...read more.


He questions the idea of honour and what use it has: "Can honour set to a leg? No. Or an arm? No. Or take away the grief of a wound? No. Honour hath no surgery then? No. What is honour?" (soliloquy) This is Falstaff's view of honour yet it is the opposite of Hal'. Falstaff is a coward, a boaster and a lyer. We see this from Hal at first yet as the play unfolds a change in Hal's character takes place and he begins to transform. On the battlefield Falstaff pretends to be dead and lies on the floor as not to be killed. He lies at the robbery of Gads hill saying that he was attacked by many men yet it was only Hal and Poins. He also lies and stabs Hotspur, now dead claiming that he had killed him when infact it was Hal. "Therefore I'll make him sure, yea, and I'll swear I killed him" After killing Hotspur Hal praises the dead man: "A kingdom for it was too small a bound. But now two paces of the vilest earth Is room enough" In this speech the word "it" represents Hotspur's ambition, he had too much and ultimately he payed the price, Hal clearly shows his countrymen that he knows greed is bad, and to look out for what happens if you get too greedy. The speech is carefully phrased and also in iambic pentameter. Hal has clearly come into his own here, and delivers a speech almost worthy of a king. It could however be argued that this it was Shakespeare's intention to portray Hal in this light to fool the Tudors into thinking that Hal had true honour. ...read more.


Hal overcomes and fights him temptation to enter the world of "rude society", eventually and shows that he has the qualities needed to be a fine prince and a respected King. However Hal can be seen in another light it. The honourable Hal could merely be an attempt at fooling the Tudors. Shakespeare wished to please the Tudors and not upset them, but also at the same time he wished to create an enjoyable and watchable play where more accurate portrayals of the true characters could be made. Hal can be seen as cold and detached from his companions, whom he swears to banish (Falstaff). It could be said that Hal uses people for his own personal advantage, either to aid him with his kingship or just for amusement. Hal enjoys cruel Practical jokes ( Gads hill). As mentioned earlier it seems as though Falstaff and Hal are the best of friends. It is obvious that Falstaff has true affection for Hal yet whether the feeling is mutual is uncertain. In Act 2 Scene 4 Why does Hal keep Falstaff outside the room instead of inviting him in straightaway? Why does Hal not pay homage to Falstaff on the battlefield? In the first tavern scene we see Prince Hal relationship with Falstaff. 'Fat-witted,' Prince Hal makes jokes about Falstaff being fat. Whatever Shakespeare's true portrayal of Hal was it is clear that throughout the play Hal has changed. Whether he was fit to be a king all along and he was merely waiting for the right moment at which to announce his "reformation" is unsure. However one thing for sure is that Hal's reformation was one of the greatest Themes in any of Shakespeare's plays. It not only kept the Tudors happy but the audience as well. Oliver Markham 5PMD Bradford Grammar School 371371 1 ...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. The contrast between Hotspur and Hal is the main theme in Henry IV part ...

    His cause however is right, Mortimer has more right to the throne than Henry. He is very proud and would hate to look anything but the best. At the conclusion of the play Falstaff reduces honour to an empty concept.

  2. The Importance of the Conflict and Resolution in King Henry IV Part I

    His constant use of "No more...." In lines 5,7 and 8, highlights his physical and mental weariness. Henry is aware of his illegal claim to the throne and the political instability of England stems from his very actions. In fact "Henry's presence on the throne troubles the notion that kings

  1. Coriolanus is a man of action who is finally defeated by words. To what ...

    These words certainly do not lead to Coriolanus' downfall, but rather allow him to gain a prestigious title after winning a spectacular battle, demonstrating the true warrior that he is. The reason that things do start to go wrong for Coriolanus, however, is because he is not well suited to

  2. In his opening soliloquy, the true nature of Richards character is revealed, his villainy ...

    He then goes on to proclaim that he is thus "determined to prove a villain" (1.1.30), as though the fact that nature has create him as such was reason enough, and the sole motivations for his evil ways. Here, it would seem that Richard is attempting to find justification for

  1. Comment on and analyse the role of women in the King Richard 3rd?

    the Prince had until he died and then the fact that there is another Prince of Wales already who is also going to die. The fact that the two people are named the same thing and now have the same life as each other or will have makes sense with the repetition that is used.

  2. How Richard III's Battle speech is presented in the film adaptations of Olivier and ...

    The tone of the extract passage is strong. There are uses of exclamation marks, for example: "Off with his son George's head!" to show the wrath of Richard. Richard also poses questions. For example: "Shall these enjoy our lands?

  1. A comparison (up to the end of Act 3) of the 'courts' of Henry ...

    But this depicts the tavern to be full of low-life people trying to 'drown their sorrows'. Another comparison I shall make is of the types of speeches between Henry IV and Hal. Iambic Pentameter, more commonly known as 'Blank Verse', was the verse used in the era of Shakespeare for those more able in society.

  2. Write a dramatic monologue in the style of Aaron reflecting on the motivation for ...

    Shakespeare has referred black people to animals; ?a toad.? Throughout the book Aaron gets agony over the coulor of his skin. This can explain the motivation of his evil, as he has been treated like a second class citizen for far too long; he has been a victim of society.

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