The Transformation of Hal in Shakespeare's Henry IV Essay

The Transformation of Hal in Shakespeare's Henry IV Essay

Length: 2180 words (6.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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 Hal for Hotspur, the son of the Earl of Northumberland.  In the

King's eyes Hotspur, not Hal,  is the "theme of honor's tongue" (1.1. 80),

because he has won his glory through his merits in war.  Thus, Shakespeare has

set Hal and Hotspur in opposition:  Hal, the prodigal prince, versus Hotspur,

the proper prince.  Hal understands that he has been branded with the label,

"truant to chivalry,"(5.1.  95) and as the heir to the throne, he realizes that

it is imperative that he redeem himself not only for himself, but also for his

father and his people because life will not always be a holiday , for "If all

the year were playing holidays, To sport would be as tedious as work" (1.2. 211-

212).  However Hal needs some type of strength to make his realization come true.


 Luckily Hal's father, the King is willing to lend several comments that enrage

him and provide him with the necssary motivation.  It also seems that

Shakespeare has included the foil for Hal, the vali...

... middle of paper ...

...o someday rule the nation.



Works Cited and Consulted

Barber, C.L. "Rule and Misrule in Henry1V." William Shakespeare: Histories and Poems. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986. 143-167.

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.

Shakespeare, William. The Norton Shakespeare. Ed Stephen Greenblatt, et al. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1997.

Shakespeare, William.   1Henry IV.  In The Norten Anthology of English Literature. Eds.  M.H. Abrams et all.  5th Ed. New York: Norton, 1987. 

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

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]

Powerful Essays
981 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on Falstaff in Henry IV Part I

- The Character of Falstaff in Henry IV Part I   In Henry IV Part I, Shakespeare presents a collection of traditional heroes. Hotspur’s laudable valor, King Henry’s militaristic reign, and Hal’s princely transformation echo the socially extolled values of the Elizabethean male. Molding themselves after societal standards, these flat characters contrast Sir John Falstaff’s round, spirited personality. Through Falstaff’s unorthodox behavior and flagrant disregard for cultural traditions, Shakespeare advocates one’s personal values above society’s....   [tags: Henry IV Henry V Essays]

Powerful Essays
2514 words (7.2 pages)

The Transformation of a King Essay

- Debatable is the story of Prince Hal and how he undergoes a transformation so infinite we may have difficulty comprehending the struggles he endured. Throughout the course of events in Henry IV, Part I, By William Shakespeare, first impressions of the characters are depicted and remain strong during most of the play. From the beginning of the play it is understood that Hal is an immature extrovert who sees no need for careful behaviors. Unlike his father, King Henry IV, Hal puts forth insufficient effort to prove he can hold the power that will eventually be his when he succeeds his father in the throne....   [tags: Literary Analysis]

Powerful Essays
2019 words (5.8 pages)

Henry V by William Shakespeare Essay

- The Webster Dictionary defines leadership as “the power or ability to lead other people” (Webster). According to West Point graduate and former Allied Commander, Dwight D. Eisenhower, leadership is a power or ability, it includes the qualities of “vision, integrity, courage, understanding, the power of articulation, and profundity of character” that make a great leader. In Shakespeare’s Henry V, the protagonist King Henry, obtained greatness from such qualities which inspired his men to follow him without hesitation, even when faced with deplorable odds....   [tags: England religious leaders, french invasion]

Powerful Essays
1379 words (3.9 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)

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)

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]

Powerful Essays
810 words (2.3 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)

Prince Hal in Shakespeare's Henriad Essay

- 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....   [tags: William Shakespeare Henriad Essays]

Powerful Essays
3644 words (10.4 pages)

Shakespeare's Portrayal of Hal in Henry IV Part One Essay

- Shakespeare's Portrayal of Hal in Henry IV Part One Shakespeare wrote 10 history plays in all, 8 of these make up a series of 2 tetralogies, or sets of 4 plays each. Placing them in chronicle order, the metrologies are: (1) Richard II, Henry IV part 1, Henry IV part 2, and Henry V, (2) Henry VI part 1, Henry VI part 2, Henry VI part 3, and Richard III. Henry I part 1 was written in 1596-1597, and was and still is one of the most popular Shakespeare plays ever written. The reason it is not so popular as other plays such as Romeo and Juliet (tragedy) and Taming of the shrew (comedy) is that it is a history play....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
2182 words (6.2 pages)