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With detailed reference to their words and actions, consider whom you find the more attractive character – Hal or Hotspur

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Introduction

With detailed reference to their words and actions, consider whom you find the more attractive character - Hal or Hotspur Hal and Hotspur have what is probably the strongest rivalry in this play. The word attractive can have many meanings but I will interpret it as being the person who comes across as being the one who really appeals to the audience through their strong and weak points. In real life Hal and Hotspur were not even of the same generation, let alone the same age. Shakespeare has changed the age of Hotspur to make him the same age as Hal. This allows him to compare the two characters and to build up a strong rivalry between them. Shakespeare also uses Hotspur to make Hal's character appear more attractive and to show that he is actually very suited to the throne. Prince Hal is a character who, at the start of the play, appears to be riotous and disobedient. However, Hal does possess many appealing qualities and as the play goes on, we start to see that the time Hal spends in the tavern is part of his learning experience and he is learning to be able to function at any level to help him become an effective and successful king. We learn this from Hal's soliloquy when he says, "He may be more wondered at, by breaking through the foul and ugly mists" (by which he means the world of the tavern and in particular, Falstaff). ...read more.

Middle

When he says "Where shall we take a purse tomorrow, Jack?" he shows that he isn't just being led into crime by Falstaff but he is actually wanting to be involved. Some qualities which Hal has are seen as unattractive but are actually necessary for him to become a successful king. One example of this is Hal's hard headedness when it comes to politics. Hal appears to be using Falstaff for his own gain and even though he seems to enjoy having a laugh with him, when it comes to throwing him off he doesn't show any remorse. It is possible that Hal didn't like Falstaff in the first place but this seems to be unlikely due to the amount of time he spends joking with him. The way in which Hal discards Falstaff doesn't reflect well on his personality but it is necessary if he is to become successful in his kingship. Hotspur also has attractive and unattractive qualities. The first we hear of him in the play is when he is being praised by the king. The king even goes so far as to say "That some night-tripping fairy had exchanged in cradle clothes our children" meaning that he wishes that he could prove that a fairy had exchanged his son with Hotspur when they were babies. This makes us think that if the king wishes Hotspur was his son then he must be a much better person than Hal and thus be the obvious choice for the most attractive character. ...read more.

Conclusion

When the rebels hold an important meeting Hotspur is given the job of bringing the map be he manages to forget this simple task as the line "A plague upon it! I have forgot the map!" shows. As Hotspur is supposed to have a claim to being future king even a small problem like this could prove fatal should he become king and forget something important. When these two very important characters are being compared together we can get a clearer idea as to who stands out as being the most 'attractive' character. Hotspur's greatest attribute is his skill in battle and he often shows off how good a warrior he is but when they actually meet in battle Hal comes out on top and he kills Hotspur. At the start of the play Henry IV says that he wishes Hotspur was prince instead of Hal but as the play does on we start to see Hotspur's less attractive qualities come to light as we see Hal's attractive qualities. Then, by the end of the play we discover that actually Hal will be a better prince than Hotspur could be. Although, at the start of the play it is Hotspur who comes across as being the most attractive character, a combination of strong and weak qualities which both Hal and Hotspur possess make us change our minds as the play goes on and at the end of the play it is Hal who stands out as being the most attractive character. Iain Robertson ...read more.

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