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Henry VI Part 1

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Comments How and why does the play extempore mark a turning point in the play? What is honour? Shakespeare's Henry IV Part One explores the various and contrasting interpretations of the three main protagonists' attitudes concerning honour, duty and the struggle between being responsible or living a life of self-indulgence. The play extempore is set in the Boar's Head Tavern, which is the frequent meeting place for Hal, Falstaff and the rest of the delinquents who follow them. In this act Hal and Falstaff both play the parts of the Prince and King as a jest to show how the confrontation between Hal and his father, though Falstaff has ulterior motives by wanting to make his final plea to Hal before he meets with his father. However, the play which began as a joke gains a more serious theme in which it becomes a turning point in the relationship between Hal and Falstaff. The play extempore marks the close of the comical, quick-witted characteristics in Hal and Falstaff's relationship and even marks a conclusion to the overall relationship shared between them. The structure of the play is fundamentally changed after the play extempore, because the comical subplot, 'the world of riot and dishonour' in the taverns, which previously was running parallel to the serious core plot, the heart of the play, is lost, and one of the three main personas, Hal, leaves the tavern world and enters into the world of duty and 'chivalry'. The play extempore is essentially the fulfilment of Hal's promises made in his soliloquy in Act One, Scene Two. Hal's soliloquy is foreboding and this scheming side of his character which he shows could possibly make him a successful king, because he realises that he doesn't want to be surrounded by sycophants like Falstaff, who only follow him for what it can bring them. Hal is revealing to the audience that in fact he is tricking everyone into believing that he is misbehaving when he is only putting on ...read more.


This suggests that Hal is demonstrating mental maturity because he not overwhelmed by Falstaff's age and realises that only he can tell Falstaff his flaws since he is the only one who sees through Falstaff's jovial fa�ade. In the play extempore Hal demonstrates his self control by allowing Falstaff to act as the King first, enabling Falstaff to tell his pathetic pleas to Hal and so that Hal doesn't have to reveal his intentions immediately. Whilst Falstaff is playing the King he tries to manipulate Hal and beg Hal to not banish him for his previous crimes once Hal eventually becomes King, because Falstaff probably feels that something not in his favour may occur when Hal meets the King and tries to obtain Hal's favour. This illustrates that Falstaff has not undergone any change since Act I when tried to persuade Hal to make him a judge once Hal becomes King. But, because Hal is sufficiently self aware and a true judge of character, he instinctively knows what Falstaff is trying to accomplish and does not fall for his ploy. Nevertheless, Hal decides to switch their roles once he becomes angered of Falstaff's continuous attempts to manipulate him, there is virtue in that Falstaff: him keep with, the rest banish. Once it is Hal's turn to play the role of the King he immediately sets out to viciously expose Falstaff and reveal his evil qualities. Hal states several scathing and withering insults to Falstaff, which include; That villainous abominable misleader of youth, Falstaff, that old white-bearded Satan. there is a devil haunts thee in the likeness of an old fat man; that Reverend Vice, that grey Iniquity, that father Ruffian, that Vanity in years? Hal identifies Falstaff as a villainous abominable misleader of youth because he attempted to manipulate Hal for his benefit. In addition to this, Falstaff tried to delude Hal through his evil behaviour but in reality fails because Hal is not swayed by Falstaff nor does he fall for his jovial fa�ade of his true self, he would have if he was not mature enough. ...read more.


This scene serves to diminish Hotspur's reputation and leave him in an unfavourable light because he quarrels with his father and uncle; causing their relationship to weaken and makes the audience feel that the plot is destined to fail. This greatly contrasts with how Hal deals with his father's own criticisms. In Act Three, Scene Three the King and the Prince finally meet and Hal is confronted with the criticisms of his father, which he had prepared himself for in the play extempore. The King compares Hal to Richard II, who had become a common site amongst the people. The King then explains he became the king because he calculated the affect of his rarity amongst the common people, the King doesn't realise that Hal also is cunning like his father because Hal only told the audience in his soliloquy of his intentions. The King compares himself to Hotspur who he sees as a fearless leader and has more of a claim to the crown than Hal. The King is showing to Hal how he would have prepared to have Hotspur as his son rather than Hal with these praises, this relates to Act One, Scene One when the King wished that his son had accidentally swapped with Hotspur. Hal shows great maturity because he doesn't react to his father's criticisms and acts humbly as he did in the play extempore. Hal promises to change his ways and accept his responsibility, this is further emphasising the point of his soliloquy in which he promises to change. From this point onwards Hal will emerge as a 'chivalrous' man in golden armour, as told in Vernon's description of Hal. Hal has conquered the world of 'riot and dishonour' and from the play extempore will enter the world of 'duty and chivalry' where he will become the most prominent figure and leave Hotspur in his wake. ?? ?? ?? ?? How and why does the play extempore mark a turning point in the play? 12/29/2008 Deji Olonilua 1 ...read more.

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