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

who in your opinion is the true hero of Henry the fourth part 1

Extracts from this document...


Who in your opinion is the true hero of the play? Explore the ways in which it is fair to say Hal is the true hero of the play. In Henry IV debatably the main character of the play is Hal, the son of Henry IV. Hal is disliked by his father but earns back his right to the crown through the events of the play. Hotspur could also be viewed as the plays true hero; he is the leader of the rebellion and the enemy of the king. However my view is that Hal is the true hero of the play because he ultimately wins over Hotspur and corrects his flaws. Traditionally a hero is defined as mighty, filled with positive attributes, but also flawed, examples of this derive from Greek mythology, men such as Achilles, who's flaw was his heel. And Hercules who's flaw was the love for his girlfriend. Both Hal and Hotspur are worthy of the label of the traditional hero. However because Hal recognises his flaws and conquers them, 'so when this loose behaviour I throw off', (Act 1 Scene 3, line196) he sporns a new, modern breed of heroic character. Hotspur is better suited to the traditional hero. ...read more.


The audience prefers to believe Hal, because subconsciously we want him to succeed. We want Hal to succeed because he has many good qualities and he can detect when to be serious and when to be humorous, he is the opposite of Hotspur in many ways and the audience admires him. During the play Shakespeare switches from a scene involving Hotspur to a scene involving Hal. The two characters have a near equal balance of time with the audience, Shakespeare is creating the illusion that this is fair and that we have the free-will to decide which character we prefer. However Shakespeare uses comedy to attract the audience to Hal, and then he changes Hal, making him sincere and serious at the right time so that the audience has no choice but want Hal to succeed. Because generally success is linked with heroism, the audience wants Hal to be the true hero of the play. Falstaff is a major influence in Hal's life; he is arguably the cause of Hal's criminal conscience. Shakespeare uses Falstaff as a contrast, in order to exemplify Hal's heroic qualities. When Falstaff is around Hal often seems even more heroic. For example whilst Hal fights and defeats Hotspur, Falstaff pretends to be dead, only to resurrect and claim credit for Hotspur's defeat, 'I look to be either Earl or Duke, I can assure you' (Act 5 Scene 4 line 139). ...read more.


This means that any readers that admired Hotspur for being a serious hard-working leader will convert their loyalties to Hal. Towards the end of the play, the king offers Hotspur an exit from the rebellion, Hotspur knows he is going to lose and he continues despite of this, even though his own life is at risk. This could be considered as honourable, Hotspur sticks to his believes throughout, and will even sacrifice his own life for his views. However it could also be argued that this is a stubborn choice, Hotspur is unable to identify his flaws and this is the reason why he cannot be the plays true hero and the reason why he could not win the rebellion. His pride was his flaw and it eventually destroys him. However it could be concluded that Hotspur is the plays true hero as he sticks to his beliefs throughout but is destroyed by his flaws. In conclusion I believe that Hal is the true hero of the play, he recognises and conquers his flaws, he defeats his enemies and he achieves forgiveness for his wrong doings. Hal fits the label of the new modern hero who overcomes their flaws. Written by Jamie Skinner! ...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 ...

    " Give me life; which if I can save, so; if not, honour comes unlooked for, and there's an end" Falstaff's version of honour licenses him to do anything so long as his own life is preserved. If we are in doubt that Falstaff's honour is as dangerous and empty

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

    between them can be seen in the way they go about their business. Richard speaks brusquely to his lords, and, as we can see, essentially is isolated from all human contact. Pacino made Richmond appeared gracious. The pre-battle preparation of the two leaders clearly shows their different styles: Richmond was filmed praying to God.

  2. To what extent does Falstaffs role transcend that of a buffon in henry IV ...

    These actions complicate our response to him. In a stable society, such actions would seriously prejudice our opinion of the fat knight. But in this play, our judgment is made much more difficult, because Falstaff's actions are, in some respects, not all that different from what others in the play are doing on a much bigger scale.

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

    This does balance the genders out in one sense but Richard can use his power more and with greater effect as far as everyone is concerned as to the society women can do nothing which is something that Shakespeare wanted to create.

  2. Richard III, explore the way Shakespeare shapes an audience's response to Richard

    as a result makes the readers feel uneasy as we are unsure whether to perceive positively or negatively. Richard then proceeds to tell the audience about his deformity (14-18): 'But I that am not made for sportive tricks Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass, I that am rudely stamped, and want love's majesty To strut before a wanton-ambling nymph...'

  1. "Richard III is a study in evil." Discuss Richard's role as a tragic hero.

    They have sympathy for the character. And fear is when the viewer realises that if circumstances were different they would also be caught up in a web of tragic events and the viewer empathises with the character. There are many moments in Richard III when we feel pity for the protagonist.

  2. Coriolanus, write a critical appreciation of the following passage, (Act 1, Scene 1, 146-210) ...

    Martius ridicules the proverbs used by the plebeians, to him, they are only childish slogans. Shakespeare made Martius deliver his speech with a sneering tone to intensify his arrogance. Martius also probably names Junius Brutus and Sicinius Velutus with great distaste, and he disdains to remember the names of the other tribunes.

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