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With close reference to Shakespeare’s language discuss how the characters of the Prince of Wales and Hotspur are portrayed in Henry IV Part 1

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Introduction

With close reference to Shakespeare's language discuss how the characters of the Prince of Wales and Hotspur are portrayed in Henry IV Part 1. In Henry IV, Part 1; Shakespeare contrasts the two characters, Prince Henry and Hotspur. The characters are complete opposites but have a common goal. They both want to be respected. Hotspur signals his intentions from the start but it is only as you get further on in the play that you realise that Hal has the same ambitions. This play chronicles the rise and fall of Hotspur and Hal's rise from being the innocuous prince to a heroic heir in one play. In Act One, Scene One, the king says: "Yea, there thou mak'st me sin in envy, that my Northumberland should be a father to so blest a son." Since this is said in the very first scene of the play we are immediately given the impression that the king's son is not as respectable or as honourable as Hotspur. We can also see how highly regarded Hotspur is as the king gives him such warm glowing compliments with a touch of jealousy in his voice. He is not contented with his own son as he goes on to say: "See riot and dishonour stain the brow of my young Harry". This indicates to the audience that Prince Hal might not be living the life that a prince would be expected to live. ...read more.

Middle

By the way Hal speaks, I can see that he is bored and only agrees so he may relieve his boredom. He agrees with a less than enthusiastic: "well, I'll go with thee". When Shakespeare shows the audience that Hal is bored and willing to participate in such a cold-hearted act, we wonder if he is a naive person as he was easily persuaded into committing the deed. A naive person is not ideal to become king, Hal seems to be easily influenced by those who are less powerful than he is, these people include Falstaff and Poins. This gives the audience the impression that Hal is not the kind of person who would ultimately become a powerful king. We could not imagine Hotspur taking part in such an enterprise, as he for one would never be bored as he is always in search of his next battle. Just before the end of the second scene, Prince Hal reveals his innermost thoughts and feelings through is soliloquy: "So 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 I shall satisfy men's hopes." During his soliloquy, Hal speaks in verse. This could be to show his nobility. He also uses imagery during his soliloquy. This again shows his nobility. " I know you all, and will awhile uphold The unyok'd humor of your idleness. ...read more.

Conclusion

This shows his bluntness and lack of tact, which is unlike Prince Hal. As a solider, Hotspur is presented as a warrior who fights using every ounce of his energy, to achieve his goals. The audience may see this as favourable. Later in the scene, Hotspur says: "I will straight and tell so, for I will ease my heart, albeit I make a hazard of my head". This phrase is typical of Hotspur's personality. He is rash and is ruled by his heart. When Worchester uses the metaphor: "on the unsteadfast footing of a spear" Hotspur takes it literally and replies: "if he fall in, good night or sink or swim" which again shows his stupidity. Shakespeare also presents Hotspur as the victim of Worcester. Many people in the audience may see Hotspur not as his own person with his own ideas but rather more as Worcester's puppet. Worchester uses Hotspur as a pawn in his attempt to rebel against Henry IV. Worchester knows that Hotspur is easily manipulated and uses him to spearhead his rebellion. The fact that Worcester so easily manipulated Hotspur into joining him in rebellion would not be a good sign for the audience. They would not see Hotspur as righteous King material. Shakespeare presents the two characters well throughout the play. He also uses imagery to present his two characters as seen in Hal's soliloquy. In this he says " Yet herein will I imitate the sun," He gives the audience pros and cons of each character and allows them to choose who they favour most. ...read more.

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