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Explore Shakespeare's presentation of Hal and Falstaff in the tavern in Act II Scene IV

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John Cummins 10x1 Explore Shakespeare's presentation of Hal and Falstaff in the tavern in Act II Scene IV In act II, scene IV, Shakespeare presents Hal as someone who is devious and cunning. As shown in the soliloquy in act I scene V, he is someone who enjoys playing tricks on people. However, Hal can also be presented as someone who is interested, and likes people, and so he will be ready to take on his future responsibility as king. Falstaff is presented as someone who is foolish, never tells the truth, and is dependent on other people such as Hal. Also, however he can be presented as an escape for Hal, but later in the scene, he is the only person who can bring Hal back to reality from his fantasy world. I think there could be different reasons why Hal spends a lot of his time in the tavern. If he was being presented as devious and cunning, he could be at the pub to play tricks on people, or he could be listening out to news of any invasions by the rebels. If Hal was presented as someone who was there to get to know people, it could be said that he was there to have fun, make friends talk to people, and make people happy. In this act, Hal plays tricks on people such as Francis and Falstaff. This could be to impress people in the tavern, or it could be to try and forget about his future responsibilities of being King. ...read more.


When Hal and Falstaff are discussing the aftermath of the robbery , Hal asks Falstaff how his sword is hacked "Faith, tell me in ernest, how come Falstaff's sword so hacked?" Here, Hal is clearly demanding an answer, where as earlier in the scene he was joking more. He could be testing out Falstaff's degree of dishonesty, so he will will be able to mock Falstaff better. I would have Hal asking in an inquisitive tone of voice, sounding fairly serious. Also, when the robbery is being discussed, although Hal knows Falstaff is lying, Hal wants to have a laugh, so he asks Falstaff difficult questions which Hal knows Falstaff will not be able to answer. "What starting-hole canst thou now find out to thee from this open and apparent shame?" Hal is asking Falstaff how he hacked his sword, because it was not in a fight. Hal is now asking him what lie will Falstaff will use to get out of this question. The repetition of 'what' shows Hal's amusment and enjoyment of hearing these lies, and that he can't wait to hear the next one. The word 'device' shows Falstaff is a source of entertainment for Hal. Shakespeare is presenting Hal who is someone who is clever and cunning, who can easily get the better of Falstaff. It shows anticipation and excitement. Again, they are trying to outdo each other, but joking and having fun at the same time. ...read more.


I would have Hal speaking in a loud, slightly angry voice to show his relationship with Falstaff is starting to weaken. Near the end of the scene, when Hal's relationship with Falstaff comes under strain, we can see that Hal is in training ground for the future king. He talks to Falstaff in a different way. "And thou a natural coward without instinct" Here 'instinct' shows he is mocking what Falstaff said earlier about instinct. I think Hal is not joking, but tring to ignore Falstaff, and banish him. I would have Hal speaking to Falstaff in an argry tone of voice, although he has better things to do than to listen to Falstaff. I would also have Hal hinting sarcasm in his voice. In Henry IV, part I, Shakespeare presents Hal in two different ways, either as devious and cunning, or as someone who is intrested in people ready to be the future king. Falstaff can be seen as either the only person who can bring Hal back to the real world, but also as Hal's only escape. I don't think that Hal would be a very good leader today, because I don't think he is serious enough about his responsabilites, and he banishes people like Falstaff whenever he decides to. I think Shakespeare presents Hal as more devious and cunning than someone intrested in people, because he plays a lot of tricks on people such as Francis and Falstaff, and asks questions that he knows Falstaff will not be able to answer. I quite enjoyed the humour in this scene, however, I thought it was too long and slow moving. ...read more.

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