Analysis Of Prince Hal And Falstaff's Henry IV: Part II

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One of the most famous scenes in Henry IV: Part I is the scene in which Prince Hal and Falstaff put on a play extempore. This is often cited as the most famous scene because it is Hal’s turning point in the play. However, the scene is much more than that. The play extempore is a moment of prophecy, not epiphany because is cues the reader in to the play’s major themes, and allows readers to explore the possibilities of the play’s continuance.
In his speech at the end of 1.2, Hal says that he is only spending time in the taverns and with misfits so that when he achieves glory, it will look even greater than it is. However, one might argue that really Hal is scared to take on the responsibility of being a prince and is using the time that he
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He is happy being a drunkard and someone who indulges what he wants. But he also realizes that it is not the type of life that a prince, or a king, should associate himself with, which leads him to his pleading—another reason the scene is prophetic. He pleads with Henry about his morality, much like he will do later in the play and in Henry IV: Part II. Though the play extempore is supposed to prepare Henry for his encounter with his father. Falstaff realizes it may be a good time to practice the inevitable encounter that he will have with Hal once he becomes king. This argument can be further developed when one realizes that it was Falstaff that called for the play extempore, not Hal. Falstaff knew he wanted a trial run before Hal’s kingship, so he gave himself one. However, Hal’s only reaction to Falstaff’s final speech is his line, “I do, I will” (2.4. 465). Some may take this as his answer to Falstaff that he will pardon him, and continue to be his friend. But the argument could be made that Hal is saying that line more to himself than to Falstaff. He is saying that he will do what’s necessary to be a good king. That he does have what it takes to leave a life he enjoys for a life of…show more content…
The reader sees the characters seeking redemption—Hal from his father and the kingdom, and Falstaff from Hal. In this scene readers also see the performance of a king, which leads to some essential questions of the play. What is a king, and what makes someone a king? Is it just the willingness of others to accept that person as a king? The play extempore seems to answer those questions with a yes. Finally, it displays the ability of the play’s characters to take on a roll before they are prepared to do so, and to make of it what they
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