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Henry V - differences between young and old.

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Introduction

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN YOUNG AND OLD IN HENRY IV (i) The difference between young and old in Henry IV (i) is an important theme as it focuses on two of the chief characters in the play, Hal and Hotspur. Throughout the ages the young have been expected to emulate the old, and in most cases, the young have displeased the old by showing independence of mind. These two characters, considered as youths and possible future rulers, are exposed to father-figures whose actions will influence their conduct in later years. Both characters have two such father-figures; Bolingbroke and Falstaff for Prince Hal, and the Northumberland and Worcester for Hotspur. Both father-figures for Hal and Hotspur have obvious good and bad connotations in their influence on the character. For example, Falstaff, in his drinking and proclivities, is clearly a poor influence for a future ruler such as Prince Hal, and Worcester, who shares Hotspur's hot temper, encourages Hotspur to make rash decisions. Bolingbroke is not yet truly an old man, his worries about his crumbling kingdom, guilt over his uprising against Richard II, and the whims of his son's behaviour have diluted his energy and strength. Despite the fact that he is the title character, Bolingbroke is not as strong a character as Hotspur, Hal, or even Falstaff. ...read more.

Middle

In Worcester, Hotspur's uncle, we see the political villain of the play. Worcester is willing to sell out the interests of all, including Hotspur, for the sake of his own safety. In Worcester, rather than in Hotspur, Shakespeare presents us with an example of a traitorous subject who is very much in step with political means. He, much like Hal, represents a shrewd and truly scheming persona, which differs greatly to either Bolingbroke or Falstaff who both seem self-involved and oblivious to possible dangers. The complex Prince Hal is at the centre of events in this play. As the only character to shift between the grave, serious world of the Court and the mad, comical world of Boar's Head Tavern, Hal serves as a bridge uniting the play's two major plotlines. An initially disgraceful prince who eventually wins back his honour and his place in the king's esteem, Hal undergoes the greatest dramatic development in the play, deliberately transforming himself from the scoundrel he pretends to be into a noble leader. Hal is, at least by suggestion, the moral focus of the play. Toward the start of the play, Falstaff refers to Hal as "the most comparative, rascalliest, sweet young prince". To be sure, Hal sheds his "rascal" self in the course of the play, but he remains a "sweet" prince. ...read more.

Conclusion

They both represent an utter blindness to a world outside of "sun-like majesty" and therefore are highly unlikely to reason in a worldlier manner. The same comparison can be made for Hal and Worcester. They both share astute and calculating mentalities that provide them the means to achieve their ends, whether that is through the manipulation of others. Hal has certainly seen a distinct side to life through his association with the Tavern, and because of that, he emerges a far knowledgeable person. He embodies the expectations of the renaissance sovereign, whereas in contrast Hotspur is too large for his times. He is a more fully-rounded, complex figure that his name connotes but his heroic stature is too big for the world of the court and too relentlessly noble for the world of the tavern. Falstaff is a classification upon himself. He is both, and yet neither young nor old. He is a child trapped in the body of an ageing man, who seeks endless coddling. His unique relationship with Hal demonstrates his need for love distinct to his loveless lifestyle of petty-crime and tomfoolery. Though in his actions he is decadent and clearly manifests the seven deadly sins, he is also shown as na�ve, through his idolatry and affections for Hal. MAR�A-PAULINA SOCARR�S-GARZ�N 12 URS DIFFERENCES BETWEEN YOUNG AND OLD IN HENRY IV (i) ENGLISH LITERATURE ...read more.

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