Prince Hal in Shakespeare's Henriad Essay

Prince Hal in Shakespeare's Henriad Essay

Length: 3644 words (10.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Research Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

Prince Hal in Shakespeare's Henriad

The question that Shakespeare raises throughout the series of Henry IV, Part I, Henry IV, Part II, and Henry V is that of whether Prince Hal (eventually King Henry V), is a true manifestation of an ideal ruler, and whether he is a rightful heir to his father’s ill-begotten throne. England is without a true king, being run by a ruler without the right of divine providence on his side– altogether, a very difficult situation for a young, inexperienced, and slightly delinquent Prince to take on. The task of proving himself a reliable Prince and a concerned ruler is of utmost importance to Hal, as he does not enjoy the mantle of divine right– perhaps by being an excellent ruler, Hal can make up for the usurpation of Richard II’s crown. Even though he is unable to change his ancestry, he may be able to gain God’s support by ruling justly, piously, and effectively. Robert Fallon defines this stage of England’s history as “an era when monarchs were expected to share with their soldiers the dangers of the battlefield, where strength of character was equated with strength of arm and a king’s ability to rule was measured by his ability to lead his armies in conquest,” and this is the mindset that Hal must deal with, moving from an irresponsible tavern dweller to a responsible ruler, fit to lead England with God’s support, if not his permission (Fallon, 111).

The association of Prince Hal with dubious, tavern-dwelling creatures like Falstaff is a main point of contention between his supporters and detractors. Because the audience first meets the Prince in Henry IV, Part I, while he is carousing in the tavern with Falstaff, it is necessary for Shakespeare to indicate that Hal is not as enchanted with...

... middle of paper ...

...stability and domestic tranquility.

Works Cited

Fallon, Robert Thomas. “Henry V: This Star of England.” A Theatrer-Goer’s Guide to Shakespeare’s Characters. Chicago, Illinois: Ivan R. Dee, 2004. 106-122.

Ornstein, Robert. A Kingdom for a Stage: The Achievement of Shakespeare’s History Plays. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1972.

Roe, John. “Henry V: The Prince and Cruelty.” Studies in Renaissance Literature: Shakespeare and Machiavelli. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2002. 63-93.

Shakespeare, William. Ed. David Scott Kastan. Henry IV, Part I. London: The Arden Shakespeare, 2002.

Shakespeare, William. Ed. A.R. Humphreys. King Henry IV, Part II. London: Methuen & Co., Ltd., and The Arden Shakespeare, 1981.

Shakespeare, William. Ed. J.H. Walter. King Henry V. London: Metheun & Co., Ltd., and The Arden Shakespeare, 1954.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Henriad by Shakespeare

- Falstaff is often left out of the conversation or treated as an object when people discuss Shakespeare’s “Henriad.” The conversation has grown to include Falstaffian supporters and those who continue to objectify him. On the one hand, critics like Harry Berger, author of “The Prince’s Dog: Falstaff and the Perils of Speech-Prefixity,” argues that Falstaff’s concealed motives are only brought to light through the characters speech. On the other hand, critics like Robert Bell, author of “The Anatomy of Folly in Shakespeare’s “Henriad,” believes Falstaff to be a fool, but he believes him to be one of Shakespeare’s “Greatest Fools.” I find these critics to be in direct conversation with one ano...   [tags: Harry Berger, falstaff]

Research Papers
1961 words (5.6 pages)

Honor in Prince Hal Essay

- Honor in Prince Hal Prince Hal’s destiny is shaped for him by many forces: his association with the ne'er-do-well Falstaff, the expectations of his father, King Henry IV, and the constant comparison between himself and Hotspur. All three of these forces create in Hal a sense of honor that is an integral part of his education as the ideal king, and throughout the action of Henry IV, Part I, Hal is gaining a knowledge of honor that will shape him into the King that he will become. However, it seems that Hal ultimately chooses one form on honor over the other, although he must compare the honor of Falstaff and the conceptual honor of a chivalric hero before he comes to a final conclusion....   [tags: Shakespeare Prince Hal Essays]

Research Papers
999 words (2.9 pages)

Prince Hal By William Shakespeare Essay

- In William Shakespeare’s play Henry IV, Part 1 Prince Hal is a young man who is trying to find his way while dealing with the pressures of the crown. Like many teenagers Hal has reached his rebellious stage, and spends his time with a group of rogues. Hal experiments living life as a commoner, drinking his days away, playing jokes on his companions, and committing crimes. The weight of his responsibility ways heavily on him, and his father, King Henry, is disappointed with the way he spends his time....   [tags: William Shakespeare, Henry V of England, Henry V]

Research Papers
1590 words (4.5 pages)

Prince Hal By William Shakespeare Essay

- William Shakespeare’s historical play Henry IV is a story about performing the role of a king. It asks us, how are we to know and remain true to ourselves when we are constantly expected to remain in character and adhere to the roles in which other people have given us. Prince Hal is one character that has to pay the debt of a performance that he “never promised” (1.2.187). However, Prince Hal is not the only one who has a role to play. King Henry, the usurper to Richard II’s throne, is continually seeking ways in which he can prove to his people that he is worthy of his crown, while Hotspur, the rival to Plantagenet rule, seeks ways to rally forces to overthrow it....   [tags: William Shakespeare, Henry V, Henry V of England]

Research Papers
1004 words (2.9 pages)

The Moralities of Falstaff and Prince Hal in King Henry IV Essay

- Throughout King Henry IV Part 1, Shakespeare consistently contrasts the opposing worldviews of Falstaff and Prince Hal. Shakespeare portrays Falstaff as the old, overweight drunk who lives only to enjoy himself in the present. In contrast, Shakespeare shows Hal to be the sometimes irresponsible, nevertheless, intelligent and heroic prince whose entire life and character is about planning and preparing not only himself, but also others for the future. Yet, while Falstaff engages in illegal activity to maintain his own pleasure, regardless of any implications, Hal retains his scruples and manages to regain the respect of his peers....   [tags: Morality, characters, King Henry IV, plays, shakes]

Research Papers
810 words (2.3 pages)

The Development of Prince Hal into a Leader in William Shakespeare's Henry IV

- The Development of Prince Hal into a Leader in William Shakespeare's Henry IV Although William Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1 depicts Henry Bolingbroke's troubles following the usurpation of England's thrown, the more consequential plot concerns the transformation of Prince Hal from a tavern crony into the next King of England. This is a play of contrast where Prince Hal is caught between two father figures who represent contradicting ideals. The figure most notable in the Prince's youth is Falstaff, a materialist who rejects responsibility and has a childish demeanor, thus providing a comparison with the Prince's own youthfulness....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
981 words (2.8 pages)

Essay about William Shakespeare 's The Prince

- He murdered the king married the queen, took the crown, plotted to do away with Hamlet, but in all, guarded himself from blame. King Claudius was a mad psychopath who wanted power. He wanted his brother 's wife and his kingdom. His ex-sister-in-law is now his new wife and queen of the kingdom. King Hamlet, the ghost return from hell, he wanted them brutally killed by his son Hamlet. In the end, King Claudius had to pay the price, he lost his new wife and his stepson/ nephew and his own life. I 'm sure by now you’re confused....   [tags: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Prince Hamlet]

Research Papers
2485 words (7.1 pages)

Essay on Comedy in I Henry IV and II Henry IV by William Shakespeare

- Comedy in I Henry IV and II Henry IV     In I Henry IV and II Henry IV, William Shakespeare brings together drama and comedy to create two of the most compelling history plays ever written. Many of Shakespeare's other works are nearly absolute in their adherence to either the comic or tragic traditions, but in the two Henry IV plays Shakespeare combines comedy and drama in ways that seem to bring a certain realism to his characters, and thus the plays. The present essay is an examination of the various and significant effects that Shakespeare's comedic scenes have on I Henry IV and II Henry IV....   [tags: Henry IV Henry V Essays]

Research Papers
2529 words (7.2 pages)

Falstaff's Influence on Prince Hal in I Henry IV Essay

- Falstaff's Influence on Prince Hal in I Henry IV     In Shakespearean histories, there is always one individual who influences the major character and considerably advances the plot.  In I Henry IV by William Shakespeare, Falstaff is such a character.  Sir John Falstaff is perhaps the most complex comic character ever invented.  He carries a dignified presence in the mind's eye; and in him,  we recognize our internal admiration and jealousy of the rebellious dual personality that we all secretly wish for....   [tags: Henry IV Henry V Essays]

Free Essays
1116 words (3.2 pages)

The Transformation of Hal in Shakespeare's Henry IV Essay

- The Transformation of Hal in Henry IV       In Shakespeare's Henry IV, the character Hal, the Prince of Wales, undergoes a transformation that can be characterized as a redemption. Shakespeare introduces Hal, in the opening act as a renegade of the Court.  His avoidance of all public responsibility and his affinity for the company of  the Boar's Head Tavern, have caused serious concern for the King, because Hal is heir to the throne.  The King realizes that to keep order, a ruler and his heir must prove to be both responsible and honorable;  from the outset Hal possesses neither quality.  The King even testifies to his own advisor, that he would have rather traded Ha...   [tags: Henry IV Henry V Essays]

Research Papers
2180 words (6.2 pages)