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How does Shakespeare put on stage the conflict between different attitudes to loyalty? How effectively do you think he does this?

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Brendan Lee How does Shakespeare put on stage the conflict between different attitudes to loyalty? How effectively do you think he does this? On stage we are introduced to two different styles of leadership. Shakespeare uses the King and Hal to act as contrasts of leadership. We seethe king as a 'scary ogre', who is to be feared. When we first meet the king he is easily angered as he is not obeyed by Hotspur, as he does not hand over the prisoners which he has captured. This shows that the king immediately demands obedience and respect. Whenever someone is addressing the king, they call him 'my liege' or 'my lord'. This again shows that people fear him, as they feel they must respect him. However, when we first meet Hal, Prince of Wales, Falstaff addresses him with 'Hal' and 'lad', which shows that people do not fear Hal as much, and that he is not as respected. Hal 'mingles' with the 'common' people, and he feels at home in the pub with his mates. This style of leadership is in contrast to his father's, the King. Hal does not demand respect and obedience . He is content with others making jokes at him and having a laugh. Falstaff says to Hal ' for a fine thief of the age of two and twenty or thereabouts'. Falstaff is suggesting that Hal is boring, but Hal is satisfied with being called this, whereas if it was the King who had received this comment, he would have got angry at being insulted. ...read more.


Hal's approach is far different. When we first meet him he is smiling and having a joke with Falstaff, and admitting how his lifestyle is poor by thieving, and is now planning yet another one. This first impression does not make us see Hal as a leader, as he is irresponsible, and immature. He does not appear to be someone which we would look up to and respect and obey, we are more likely to argue back at him or simply be disobedience. It is difficult for the audience to see him ruling a country as king. It is the lack of respect that people have for him that makes the audience feel this way. After Falstaff was robbed, he comes back to the inn and addresses Hal with 'A king's son! If I do not beat thee out of thy kingdom' and 'You, Prince of Wales!'. Falstaff may have been let down by Hal as he did not help him in the robbery like was planned, but it is not normal for a normal person such as Falstaff to insult the Prince of Wales like that, and tell him that he is not suitable to be Prince. This is how people talk to Hal, without fear or respect. Shakespeare has effectively used Hal and the King as contrasts of leadership, and this is clear and easy to see. ...read more.


Shakespeare has made an on stage battle of the contrasts in leadership. It is not evident as to which one is the correct one to use, but we can clearly see the advantages and disadvantages of both. Shakespeare has used the different types of leaderships in Hal and the King to create suspense on stage. Hal we see as a 'nice guy' and someone who we can get on with, and because of this, we have a liking for him, and we care what happens to him. However, we may not like the King as much as Hal, but we still care what happens to him. This is because he demands respect so much on stage that we immediately we take an interest and concern as to what happens to him. This suspense is evident throughout the play, and it keeps the audience interested. Shakespeare has arranged the play so that we see the King and his associates in one scene, Falstaff and Hal in another, and Hotspur in another. So it is like having three little stories going on at once. These changes to different characters are deliberate, as it allows the audience a break. As if the play just focused on Hal and Falstaff, the suspense would be so great and constant that the audience would lose concentration. It would be too much to take in. A play needs suspense, but at the same time there needs to be breaks from that suspense for the audience to really appreciate the play, and Shakespeare has achieved this well. ...read more.

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