Acts Of Actipulation In King Henry IV, Part 1 By William Shakespeare

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“Statement - All representations of people and politics are acts of manipulation”

Every day as we step into the vast world of literature, we are constantly subjected to acts of manipulation. Our views are constantly shaped in a way the composers want it to be shaped. To put this more into perspective, we only need to look as far as the texts that I have been analysing in school of late – William Shakespeare’s dramatic play, ‘King Henry IV, Part 1’ and the RSC’s play within a play production.

In the play’s very first scene, the audience are introduced to King Henry speaking about how his son, the next in line, is “riot[ous] and dishonor[able]”. Particularly, in comparison to his glorified namesake, Harry Percy, he is no good. At this point in time, we are made to believe that Prince Hal’s political presence is very insignificant. Almost non-existent. Why? Because he seemingly lacks the qualities of a true leader. He is a prince, yet wastes his time in taverns in the company of renowned outlaws and crooks such as the infamous Falstaff. Now, let’s fast forward to the soliloquy in scene two. In a matter of lines, our perceptions of Hal start to change as he directly speaks to us. Metaphorically Hal tells us, “Yet I herein will imitate the sun”. He tells us that he will change his ways; that he
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What else is there installed for us whenever we read one of Shakespeare’s texts? The way we succumb to his acts of manipulation whether it is in Act 1 or Act 3, inevitably we are to understand people and politics in the way Shakespeare wants us to see it. As he makes use of the various textual elements and forms of a play, he sheds light on impact of politics on relationships and generates insight on what motivates people to attain power. My fellow colleagues, if any of you leave this conference room without taking anything out of this speech, you must have came to see me at least weeks

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