Essay, Research Paper
And Up From The Ashes, The Hero Took His Place
The sun is setting slowly on the horizon and the sky above is awash with the gilded light of a swollen sun. Its warm fingers reaching futilely out to those that are walking wearily to their hovels. On the entrance to the alley way a man cloaked in tattered robes and visage besmeared with dirt begs for paltry change from a travelers purse. Merchants and travelers give him wide berth for he looks sickened. Who knows? He could have the plague. A man by the name Joseph, a pilgrim, barely over the threshold of what we call manhood, places a coin into the beggar’s outstretched grimy palm. “Thank you, kind soul…may God bless you..” says the older man. He closes his hand and meets the young man’s eyes. Eyes of intense jade green seem to summarize the young man in mere seconds and Joseph takes a step back. Walking away slowly all he can remember is the verdant jewels of the man’s eyes. A shadow appears behind the beggar and puts a hand on his shoulder. “Highness, we have searched all over for you…please, let me accompany you back to your chambers.” says the knight. Standing to his full imposing height the “beggar” shrugs off the hood covering his face. The fading light reveals a face, regal in all of its form and figure. The eyes so well remembered by young Joseph gleam with wit and vitality as he turns their gaze to his trusted knight. “Very well Sir Richard, let us return home.” he responds quietly. Some things do not always appear with their true nature. Prince Hal undergoes a calculated and very decisive change from the “scoundrel” Harry, to King Henry V.
Even in the days of his supposed insubordination Hal divulges his plan of claiming his glory. This says that even though he acts as if his present company are closer to him than anyone else, he knows their deplorable actions compromise his good name. The soliloquy that young Hal delivers says this in his statement, “So when this loose behavior I throw off. . .And pay the debt I never promised” that betrays his clever guise of nescience. This says that Hal is taking this into consideration and is going to take care of the soiling of his name accordingly when he is King. This says that Prince Hal is much more canny in mentality than perhaps previously thought. The Prince summarizes his plan in the statement, “My reformation glitt’ring over my faults, Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes than that which hath no foil to set it off.” This says that any doubt that he is knowledgeable of his the state of his reputation is tossed away and his motives are clear. These early intimations, these foreshadowings are a perfect portent of what is to come.
The “transformation” from Prince Hal to King Henry the Fifth is consummated in Henry V. This says that the psuedo-hellion Prince Hal was merely a clever ruse that was utilized for his greater objectives as King. King Henry’s speech that would have roused the most languid of hearts is delivered during the Siege of Harfleur, “Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more, Or close the wall up with our English dead!….When the blast of war blows in our ears, then imitate the action of the tiger: Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, disguise fair nature with hard-favored rage.” This says that the fictitious archetype that was Prince Hal could never have delivered such a speech of such emotional and patriotic impact on the minds of the English army. This says that there is yet another example of how effective his stratagem was in deceiving even those closest to him. In the Battle of Agincourt the King deals another rousing speech that gets his travel weary soldiers ready for battle, he says, “If we are marked to die, we are enough to do our country loss; And if to live, the fewer the men, the greater share of honor….he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.” This says that the old Prince Hal that was believed to be such a derelict would never be thought to be so possessed with a sense of patriotism. Perhaps Prince Hal was a little more prepared for Royalty than many first thought.
Throughout the three plays (Henry IV part one and two, and Henry V) Prince Hal deceives all with a seemingly one hundred eighty degree turn from his juvenile attitude and actions to the epitome of kingliness in Henry V. Even Hal’s own father thought he would not amount to anything noteworthy. He even goes as far as to say that Hotspur (Northumberland’s son) is “The theme of honor’s tounge….” and his own son is besmirched with “…riot and dishonor..” and that he wished that Hotspur was his own instead of Hal. Despite all of this doubt as to his ability to fill the cloak and crown of King he still rises to the occasion and takes his place among the great kings. It seems as if the “prodigal son” in this case is not so prodigal after all and actually has his life much more in control than speculated. The Prince Hal undergoes a calculated and very decisive change from the ruffian Harry, to King Henry V.