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

995 Words 4 Pages
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. In opposition to the jovial Falstaff comes Henry IV, the biological father of the Prince, who is
…show more content…
Shakespeare relates the same desire to humble thyself before masses in order to gain their admiration to Henry IV, while arguing with his son the strategies he used in the usurpation of the crown from Richard II by suggesting himself as, A fellow of no mark nor likelihood. By being seldom seen, I could not stir But, like a comet, I was wondered at...(Act III ii 45-47)
With the repetition of words as "wondered at" Henry IV also seeks the people's favor through humility, so the people of England will welcome him to their throne. Henry V becomes an inspirational figure to win their admiration as a leader, in contrast to the loathsome tavern setting that Prince Hal is associated, in order to gain the commoners praise as an equal. In the development of Prince Hal within the tavern setting during his youth, which he uses as an institution for learning common society in preparation for kingship, there comes a point of detachment from the former self. The first semblance of partition comes during a game where Falstaff playing the Prince ask, "banish Peto, banish Bardolph, banish
Poins, but for sweet Jack Falstaff...banish not him..."(II iv 475-479). Prince Hal, as the
King, replies "I do, I will," thus foreshadowing Falstaff's banishment by the Prince when he is crowned King of England. The Prince's

Related Documents