Essay about The Concept of Honor in Henry IV, Part One

Essay about The Concept of Honor in Henry IV, Part One

Length: 2353 words (6.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview


       Shakespeare’s talent as both a writer and a poet lead to his gift for character development, down to the last detail. Henry IV, Part One contains a variety of deep characters, two of which play key roles in the evolution of the concept of honor in the play. Falstaff and Hotspur symbolize opposing viewpoints concerning the main theme of the play – honor. At the time the play was written, honor was defined as “the special virtues which distinguish those of the nobility in the exercise of their vocation–gallantry in combat with a worthy foe, adherence to the accepted code of arms, and individual loyalty to friends, family, and comrades in arms” (Prior 14). Although honor is an important subject in the play, this is not to say that it can be found as an inherent quality in any of the characters. Where is the honor in peasants uprising against a usurper king whom they placed in office? The reader is invited to see honor through the eyes of either Falstaff or Hotspur. Hotspur’s pursuit of honor becomes obsessive to the point that he is blinded to everything that doesn’t pertain to his quest for honor. Falstaff holds the opposing viewpoint, concluding that honor is rejected due to its limitations on life and therefore must be seen as empty and valueless. To...


... middle of paper ...


...perception of honor.

Works Cited

Bloom, Harold. Henry IV, Part One: Bloom’s Notes. New York: Chelsea House, 1996.

Cruttwell,Patrick. Hernry IV. Shakespeare For Students, Vol. II. Detroit: Gale Publishing, 1999.

Kantor, Andrea. Henry IV, Part One. London: Baron’s Education Series, Inc, 1984.

Princiss, G.M. Henry IV Criticism. Shakespeare For Students, Vol.II. Detroit: Gale Publishing, 1999.

Prior, Moody E. The Drama of Power: Study in Shakespeare’s History Plays. Shakespeare For Students, Vol. II. Detroit: Gale Publishing, 1999.

Wells, Stanley. Shakespeare: Life in Drama. New York: Norton & Company, 1995.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Essay about William Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1

- Great advice and guidance are expected to be given by older people. Many advice and great guidance on the other hand are given by unexpected person. Such great advice is sometimes disregarded due to who offered them. On the other hand when someone has to take up a responsibility all other things that may interfere with progress should be avoided. As it is said “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (King James Version Bible, 1 Cor....   [tags: Henry IV, Part 1 Essays]

Powerful Essays
1090 words (3.1 pages)

Honor in Henry IV, Part One Essay

- Honor in Henry IV, Part One     In Henry IV, Part One Shakespeare revels in the opportunity to suggest the idiosyncracy of character through his command of a wide range of both verse and prose. As a result the play is full of rich and different character parts (Wells 141). Two in particular, Falstaff and Hotspur, hold diverse beliefs concerning the main theme of the drama, honor. In Shakespeare’s time, honor was defined as the special virtues which distinguish those of the nobility in the exercise of their vocation–gallantry in combat with a worthy foe, adherence to the accepted code of arms, and individual loyalty to friends, family, and comrades in arms (Prior 14)....   [tags: Henry IV Henry V Essays]

Powerful Essays
2377 words (6.8 pages)

Analysis Of William Shakespeare 's ' King Henry Iv ' Essay

- Falstaff’s honor speech does not imply cowardice, rather it exemplifies the contrast between himself and King Henry IV. In King Henry IV part one, act 5, Fallstaff explains why honor is not an ideal he strives for. He says that honor drives him to battle and asks, if he dies for honor, what is the reward. Honor will not assist him if he is wounded, it is nothing but air, a word. It is only achievable through death, and it is useless to the dead. Therefore, in the upcoming battle Falstaff will not, as characters in heroic plays had done for centuries, sacrifice himself for love of country....   [tags: William Shakespeare, Henry V of England]

Powerful Essays
1092 words (3.1 pages)

Power in Henry IV Part One by William Skakespeare Essay

- Humans from all races, morals and cultures have common traits among them. . All people are self-interested; they will never cause themselves to do something except if it is beneficial for them. They can be trustworthy at times, but they will turn selfish, hypocritical and misleading in adverse times. According to Machiavelli, there are four ways to come in to power. This power can be achieved through abilities, wealth or network, crime and lastly by inheriting the position or through the nobles....   [tags: language, bold, manipulance, plans]

Powerful Essays
872 words (2.5 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]

Powerful Essays
999 words (2.9 pages)

To Be With Or Without Honour: William Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part One Essay

- Falstaff and Hotspur have opposing belief systems towards honour. Falstaff holds a practical view of honour, valuing life more then honour (Beveridge 10). Hotspur views honour as life, willing to give up his life for honour (Beveridge 10). Although both beliefs are completely different they share some similarities. Both characters present their beliefs with extreme passion and consistency. Another characteristic shared by the two beliefs of honour is the selfish motive behind them. By dissecting Falstaff’s and Hotspur’s ideas of honour many similarities and differences are presented....   [tags: value, life, beliefs, motive]

Powerful Essays
696 words (2 pages)

Essay on The Great Compromiser Henry Clay

- The last full decade of American slavery began with compromise, escalated into bloodshed, and ended with secession. To quote McPherson, “In 1850, the republic faced a crisis of the first order” (McPherson 71). The massive acquisition of territory in the wake of the Mexican-American War threatened to upset the sectional balance achieved by the Missouri Compromise three decades earlier. Sectional tensions had never been higher; attempts by northerners to ban slavery from the new lands with the Wilmot Proviso had led to southern fears of encirclement by free states....   [tags: Slavery in the United States, American Civil War]

Powerful Essays
1050 words (3 pages)

William Shakespeare's Henry IV Essay

- Politicians and leaders use different strategies to win an election; most of them get their voters by promising the public to fix their country or turning it to a more desirable place. For example the historian Niccolo Machiavelli discusses this point by stating how to gain and keep political power through his book The Prince, He says that a ruler should forget about virtue and morality in the process of becoming a king and his focus should be the public. He also states that a ruler or a prince should be a performer and a deceiver who can regulate his actions and talks to fit any given situation....   [tags: Manipulating&Deceiving, Character Analysis]

Powerful Essays
1328 words (3.8 pages)

William Shakespeare's Henry V Essay

- Henry V was one of the greatest kings in British History. His epic rise to power was captured for posterity in the writings of William Shakespeare in the play named for the king. Although a play, the story as told by Shakespeare was remarkably close to being historically accurate (Pilkington, 1997). This play was brought to the modern world in the film Henry V, which was written, directed by, and starred Kenneth Branagh in the title role as the young king (Branagh, 1989). Through the course of the movie, Branagh painted a powerful picture of the evolution of Henry from a young and perhaps rambunctious boy into the man who would be known as a powerful and fair monarch....   [tags: William Shakespeare]

Free Essays
1922 words (5.5 pages)

Essay on King Henry IV

- The father and son relationship is one of the most important aspects through the youth of a young man. In Shakespeare’s play Henry IV, he portrays the concept of having "two fathers". King Henry is Hal’s natural father, and Falstaff is Hal’s moral father. Hal must weigh the pros and cons of each father to decide which model he will emulate. Falstaff, who is actually Hal’s close friend, attempts to pull Hal into the life of crime, but he refuses. Hal seems to lack honor at the commencement of the play, but near the end we see him display a different kind true honor which will be explained more in depth....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
594 words (1.7 pages)