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Henry Iv Part 1 Essay Research Paper

Henry Iv: Part 1 Essay, Research Paper Explore the different father/son relationships in Henry IV, Part 1; show how these contrasting relationships contribute to the plays ideas and dramatic tension.

Henry Iv: Part 1 Essay, Research Paper

Explore the different father/son relationships in Henry IV, Part 1; show how these contrasting relationships contribute to the plays ideas and dramatic tension.

The main ideas of the play are redemption, honour, what it required to be an ideal King, and the waywardness of youth. It is through contrasting of the different father/ son relationships that we can see these ideas taking form. The main ideas within the play are all evident within the relationship between the King and Prince but only become clear when contrasted with the other similar relationships within the play.

The relationship between Hal and his father can be typified by the all too familiar tradition of adolescents rebelling against authority, which in this case is his father, the King. Hal s avoidance of all public responsibility, and his affinity with the Boar s Head Tavern in Eastcheap, causes great concern for the King. This resentment towards his father appears to stem from his Debt he had never promised (Act 1, Scene 1, Line 207), his accident of birth leaving him with the huge responsibility of being the future King of England. The King believes he has done England a honourable deed by gaining the throne from Richard II and is wholly aware that to maintain order, a ruler and heir to the throne needs to be both responsible and honourable, something that Hal is judged by his father to lack, riot and dishonour stain the brow of my young Harry (Act 1, Scene 1, line 84). The King even testifies to his cousin Westmorland that he would rather trade Hal for Hotspur, the son of the Earl of Northumberland, confiding that Hotspur is the theme of honours tongue (Act 1, Scene 1, line 80), thus setting both Hotspur and his son in opposition with the intention of galvanising Hal into action and undertaking his role as prince of the realm.

Shakespeare uses the first meeting between the King and Hal to illustrate the themes of honour and redemption. At the beginning of this Act 3 scene 2, Shakespeare clears the other characters from the stage, intensifying the first meeting between the wayward son and his disgruntled father. The King begins by showing great disappointment in Hal, wondering whether he is the result of any displeasing service I have done to God (Act 3, Scene 2, line 5). King Henry is distressed by the effect the people Hal surrounds himself with are having on his princely image:

Could such inordinate and low desires,

Such poor, such bare, such lewd, such

mean attempt, such barren pleasures,

rude society as there art matched withal………..

Accompany the greatness of thy blood

(Act 3, Scene 2, line 12)

Carrying on with the same theme, the King voices his displeasure at Hal s behaviour by stating that due to his absence from the council, thy place in council thou hast rudely lost, which by thy younger brother is supplied (Act 3, Scene 2, line 32), something which had never happened before to Princes of my blood (Act 3, Scene 2 line 35). The King further emphasising the loss of respect from his people stating the soul of every man Prophetically do forethink thy fall (Act 3, Scene 2, line 37), and Hotspur hath more worthy interest to the state than thou, the shadow of succession (Act 3, Scene 2, line 98). Henry then illustrates Hal s inadequate claim for the throne through a comparison with Hotspur, explaining that Hotspur:

leads ancient lords and reverend bishops on

to bloody battles, and to bruised arms.

What never-dying honour hath he got

Against renowned Douglas!

(Act 3, Scene 2, line 104)

Hal, vexed after hearing such disparaging comments is spurred into an emotional reply. He pleads to his father that he has misjudged him, for the accounts of his behaviour were truly exaggerated. Hal s passionate plea confirms his loyalty to his father and that he is willing to give up his Eastcheap friends and redeem his tarnished reputation, by defeating Hotspur in one-to-one combat:

Do not think it so. You shall not find it so

And God forgive them so much have swayed

Your majesty s good thoughts away from me.

I will redeem all this on Percy s head,……….

And that shall be the day, whene er it lights,

That this same child of honour and renown,

This gallant Hotspur, this all- praised Knight,

And your unthought-of Harry chance to meet

(Act 3, Scene 2, line 129 and 138)

Its is Hal s rebuke of his fathers comments that helps inspire him to take the final steps towards his transformation, and fulfilling another theme of the play, redemption.

Another theme from the relationship between Hal and King Henry is that of what is required to be an ideal King. It is the comments he makes regarding Hal s public persona in comparison to his own. The King uses the imagery of a cuckoo in June to show that Prince Hal is heard, not regarded, seen, but with such eyes, as sick and blunted with community (Scene 3, Act 2, line 76), in contrast to how a King should be, like a comet I was wondered at (Act 3, Scene 2, line 47) he had to keep his public image fresh and new, my presence like a robe pontifical (Scene 3, Act 2, line 55). It is through the King s relationship with his other son we can see his ideals in action. John of Lancaster, Hal s younger brother, appears in the court scene in Act 1 Scene 1. Here we see the King addressing his Lords about the current rebellion and how it has postponed the pilgrimage that had been planned. We see the King calling upon his Lords in turn to speak, but we never see any clue of a father/ son relationship between John and King Henry, infact there is no communication between the pair until Act 4 Scene 4, in the battle between the rebels and the King s armies. The King, showing concern for Hal, asks him to withdraw thyself, thou bleedest too much and then with the formal address he may of used in the King s Court, orders Lord John of Lancaster, go you with him .

A contrast with this attitude towards fatherhood can be seen between the relationship between Henry Percy and Hotspur. Where Henry will only unmask his true self to his sons when it is most necessary, Henry Percy instantly shows more concern for his son. Hotspur as his name may imply is very hot headed. In Act 1 Scene 3, Hotspur is called upon to defend himself for not handing over all his prisoners to the King. When the King leaves Hotspur is seen to lose his composure and make clear his intent of defiance:

And if the devil come and roar for them

I will not send them. I will after straight

And tell him so, for I will ease my heart,

Albeit I make a hazard of my head.

His father quite concerned at his son being Drunk with Choler asks him to stay and pause awhile (Act 1, Scene 3, line 126). This obviously shows a greater deal of understanding between the pair. Henry Percy clearly aware of his sons tempestuous nature attempts to placate him, showing a greater deal of intimacy and understanding of his son than the King and his sons, with whom he prefers to wear the mask of kingship.

So it is within the relationship between Prince Hal and King Henry that the themes of honour, redemption, and role of the king are presented to us within the play, and they do become clearer when actually contrasted with the other similar relationships between King Henry and Lord John, and Harry Hotspur and Henry Percy.

Explore the different father/son relationships in Henry IV, Part 1; show how these contrasting relationships contribute to the plays ideas and dramatic tension.

The main ideas of the play are redemption, honour, what it required to be an ideal King, and the waywardness of youth. It is through contrasting of the different father/ son relationships that we can see these ideas taking form. The main ideas within the play are all evident within the relationship between the King and Prince but only become clear when contrasted with the other similar relationships within the play.

The relationship between Hal and his father can be typified by the all too familiar tradition of adolescents rebelling against authority, which in this case is his father, the King. Hal s avoidance of all public responsibility, and his affinity with the Boar s Head Tavern in Eastcheap, causes great concern for the King. This resentment towards his father appears to stem from his Debt he had never promised (Act 1, Scene 1, Line 207), his accident of birth leaving him with the huge responsibility of being the future King of England. The King believes he has done England a honourable deed by gaining the throne from Richard II and is wholly aware that to maintain order, a ruler and heir to the throne needs to be both responsible and honourable, something that Hal is judged by his father to lack, riot and dishonour stain the brow of my young Harry (Act 1, Scene 1, line 84). The King even testifies to his cousin Westmorland that he would rather trade Hal for Hotspur, the son of the Earl of Northumberland, confiding that Hotspur is the theme of honours tongue (Act 1, Scene 1, line 80), thus setting both Hotspur and his son in opposition with the intention of galvanising Hal into action and undertaking his role as prince of the realm.

Shakespeare uses the first meeting between the King and Hal to illustrate the themes of honour and redemption. At the beginning of this Act 3 scene 2, Shakespeare clears the other characters from the stage, intensifying the first meeting between the wayward son and his disgruntled father. The King begins by showing great disappointment in Hal, wondering whether he is the result of any displeasing service I have done to God (Act 3, Scene 2, line 5). King Henry is distressed by the effect the people Hal surrounds himself with are having on his princely image:

Could such inordinate and low desires,

Such poor, such bare, such lewd, such

mean attempt, such barren pleasures,

rude society as there art matched withal………..

Accompany the greatness of thy blood

(Act 3, Scene 2, line 12)

Carrying on with the same theme, the King voices his displeasure at Hal s behaviour by stating that due to his absence from the council, thy place in council thou hast rudely lost, which by thy younger brother is supplied (Act 3, Scene 2, line 32), something which had never happened before to Princes of my blood (Act 3, Scene 2 line 35). The King further emphasising the loss of respect from his people stating the soul of every man Prophetically do forethink thy fall (Act 3, Scene 2, line 37), and Hotspur hath more worthy interest to the state than thou, the shadow of succession (Act 3, Scene 2, line 98). Henry then illustrates Hal s inadequate claim for the throne through a comparison with Hotspur, explaining that Hotspur:

leads ancient lords and reverend bishops on

to bloody battles, and to bruised arms.

What never-dying honour hath he got

Against renowned Douglas!

(Act 3, Scene 2, line 104)

Hal, vexed after hearing such disparaging comments is spurred into an emotional reply. He pleads to his father that he has misjudged him, for the accounts of his behaviour were truly exaggerated. Hal s passionate plea confirms his loyalty to his father and that he is willing to give up his Eastcheap friends and redeem his tarnished reputation, by defeating Hotspur in one-to-one combat:

Do not think it so. You shall not find it so

And God forgive them so much have swayed

Your majesty s good thoughts away from me.

I will redeem all this on Percy s head,……….

And that shall be the day, whene er it lights,

That this same child of honour and renown,

This gallant Hotspur, this all- praised Knight,

And your unthought-of Harry chance to meet

(Act 3, Scene 2, line 129 and 138)

Its is Hal s rebuke of his fathers comments that helps inspire him to take the final steps towards his transformation, and fulfilling another theme of the play, redemption.

Another theme from the relationship between Hal and King Henry is that of what is required to be an ideal King. It is the comments he makes regarding Hal s public persona in comparison to his own. The King uses the imagery of a cuckoo in June to show that Prince Hal is heard, not regarded, seen, but with such eyes, as sick and blunted with community (Scene 3, Act 2, line 76), in contrast to how a King should be, like a comet I was wondered at (Act 3, Scene 2, line 47) he had to keep his public image fresh and new, my presence like a robe pontifical (Scene 3, Act 2, line 55). It is through the King s relationship with his other son we can see his ideals in action. John of Lancaster, Hal s younger brother, appears in the court scene in Act 1 Scene 1. Here we see the King addressing his Lords about the current rebellion and how it has postponed the pilgrimage that had been planned. We see the King calling upon his Lords in turn to speak, but we never see any clue of a father/ son relationship between John and King Henry, infact there is no communication between the pair until Act 4 Scene 4, in the battle between the rebels and the King s armies. The King, showing concern for Hal, asks him to withdraw thyself, thou bleedest too much and then with the formal address he may of used in the King s Court, orders Lord John of Lancaster, go you with him .

A contrast with this attitude towards fatherhood can be seen between the relationship between Henry Percy and Hotspur. Where Henry will only unmask his true self to his sons when it is most necessary, Henry Percy instantly shows more concern for his son. Hotspur as his name may imply is very hot headed. In Act 1 Scene 3, Hotspur is called upon to defend himself for not handing over all his prisoners to the King. When the King leaves Hotspur is seen to lose his composure and make clear his intent of defiance:

And if the devil come and roar for them

I will not send them. I will after straight

And tell him so, for I will ease my heart,

Albeit I make a hazard of my head.

His father quite concerned at his son being Drunk with Choler asks him to stay and pause awhile (Act 1, Scene 3, line 126). This obviously shows a greater deal of understanding between the pair. Henry Percy clearly aware of his sons tempestuous nature attempts to placate him, showing a greater deal of intimacy and understanding of his son than the King and his sons, with whom he prefers to wear the mask of kingship.

So it is within the relationship between Prince Hal and King Henry that the themes of honour, redemption, and role of the king are presented to us within the play, and they do become clearer when actually contrasted with the other similar relationships between King Henry and Lord John, and Harry Hotspur and Henry Percy.

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