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HOW FAR DO YOU AGREE WITH THE VIEW THAT IN HENRY IV THE PRESENT IS ALWAYS OVERWHELMED BY THE PAST

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Introduction

HOW FAR DO YOU AGREE WITH THE VIEW THAT IN HENRY IV THE PRESENT IS ALWAYS OVERWHELMED BY THE PAST EXPLAIN CLEARLY HOW THE PLAY PRESENTS THE INFLUENCE OF PAST EVENTS AND COMMENT ON THE HOW THE PLAY ATTEMPTS TO ESCAPE THE PAST The play 'King Henry IV' revolves around a central plotline spanning a vast period of time encompassing numerous significant events. All of these events, however small, play a key role in the development of the characters as well as the themes within the play. The idea that in coming to power King Henry IV seized the crown, overruling the divine right of kings, is central to the constant theme of corruption and fear which runs throughout the plot. One of the main themes present is the journey from adolescence to maturity. Prince Hal is clearly a wayward character, seemingly dangerously close to losing his right to rule. It would appear that his association with characters such as Falstaff and Poins have nothing but negative implications. ...read more.

Middle

This unrest is partially down to worry concerning Prince Hal, but is also related to the way in which Henry himself seized power. Henry's trouble stems from his own uneasy conscience and his uncertainty about the legitimacy of his rule. Previously he had illegally usurped the throne from Richard II, therefore breaching the divine right of kings, a power bestowed upon the monarch from God. This past troubles him greatly and suppresses his ability to become a great leader. The influence of the past on Henry IV is clearly great; there is no escape from it other than impending death. Therefore one can assume that throughout the play he is simply running from past events rather than focusing on the future, in this case the future of his country. This is therefore an example of how in King Henry IV Part II the past overshadows the present and the future. The role of Northumberland as a leader of rebellion forces is also influenced by decisions made in the past. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, unlike King Henry he is not haunted by the worry of these events, he instead continues forward allowing them to take their own path, only dodging out of their way when cornered with no chance of escape. He is well aware of his illnesses, yet would rather brush them aside and live his life day by day, he turns disease into commodity and flirts with Doll through a desire which has long outlived performance. In this sense one could argue that in Falstaff's case he lives for the present and the future rather than allowing his past to overshadow his current situation. Therefore, in conclusion it seems that to large degree the argument that the past predominately overshadows the future is valid. In the case of many of the main characters previous decisions and ways of life have a profound impact on the way in which they behave in present situations. The past is clearly a powerful entity and one which plays a key role in defining the plot and decisions made throughout the play, in many cases overshadowing the present and destroying the future. ?? ?? ?? ?? Christopher Alton 6AR March 7, 2008 Page 1 ...read more.

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