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What makes Prince Hal an Unusual Hero?

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Introduction

What makes Prince Hal an Unusual Hero? What makes Prince Hal an unusual hero? This question is filled with many different opinions and views, which sometimes all contradict each other. From the very beginning of the play, we see Prince Hal and Falstaff sitting in the Boars Head Tavern in East cheap drinking. This is the place where Hal and Falstaff spend the majority of their time, and almost every scene they are in is set here. This initial portrayal of Prince Hal as a lazy drunk who spends his time with unsavoury characters, does not give the impression of a hero at all. At first glance he seems to have no understanding of how a true Prince should behave. From the outset, the King is seen making a comparison between his son, Prince Hal and the more honourable Harry Hotspur (Act 1, Scene 1, 77-87) He wishes that Hotspur was his son, a great man possessing all the characteristics a Prince should have, bravery, loyalty and respect. ...read more.

Middle

This is yet another piece of evidence that contributes to the reputation Hal builds for himself as a lazy, alcoholic, unpleasant person. However, we see a glimmer of hope for the lazy, unpleasant Prince Hal at the end of Act 1, Scene 2 in his first soliloquy. A side of Hal is shown that distinguishes him from the apparent honourable Hotspur. "...when this loose behaviour I throw off, And pay the debt I never promised, By how much better than my word I am, By so much shall I falsify men's hopes." The debt he has promised to pay is to his father and also to his country. However, is it possible for Prince Hal to prove himself when the time comes? And is this speech believable? As we get further into the play another side of Prince Hal starts to emerge. After the robbery had taken place Prince Hal plays a joke on Falstaff who claims that after the robbery he was robbed himself. ...read more.

Conclusion

Falstaff turns up with the dead body of Hotspur, claiming to have killed him. Prince Hal replies "If a lie may do the grace, I'll gild it with the happiest terms I have." Hal then tells the king he has Douglas prisoner and asks if he may have to honour of disposing of this fiend. Naturally the King agrees. Hal decides to free Douglas but gives the honour of doing so to his younger brother John. This is very important because Hal has now given up the honour of killing Hotspur, defeating Douglas, and freeing Douglas. Hal has now gained the respect of his father and defeated the very person that the King had initially admired over his own son. This change in the character of Hal at the end could not have been predicted. Throughout the play Hal had hinted that perhaps he would finally show his true colours, but it was not all fully believable. However, Hal does finally become the true hero of the play that nobody expected. Stephen Bishop - 1 - 14/2/2002 Words: 840 ...read more.

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