Henryiv 1 Essay

Submitted By sheenac17
Words: 1356
Pages: 6

Sheena Chater Chater 1
Roy Campbell
November 30 2014
Henry IV Part 1
Prince Henry is the successor; next in line to take the thrown after his father King Henry the IV. William Shakespeare illustrates Prince Henry’s transformation from a rebellious youth to a noble man, ready to become king. The beginning of the play portrays Prince Henry as an immature youth who participates in banter, drinking and thievery. He is not well thought of by those at court, especially his father King Henry, who would have liked him to be switched at birth with Hotspur. This, however, is not who Prince Henry really is. He knows that it is not the right time to come fourth and fulfill his duties as the successor. He wants people to believe that he is a foolish boy who goes against his father and therefore, is not a threat (Shute 2002). He outlines this as he speaks of his reformation in Act 1 scene 2, stating: “That, when he please again to be himself/so when this loose behavior I throw off/and pay the debt I never promised”. (Shakespeare 1.2. 190-200). He wants to surprise everyone when he is ready to show the real man he is and the true leader he is meant to be. The turning point in the play for when Prince Henry shows he is ready for this reformation and for his true self to come forth is in Act 2 scene 4. He role plays with Falstaff and acts as the king, during this interaction he states that he will banish Falstaff. He states, “I do, I will”, showing that he is ready to put his old life behind him and follow the laws outlined by the court (2.4.473-76). He states more than once that he will banish Falstaff when he

Chater 2 becomes king, demonstrating that he will take his position seriously. From this scene forward, Prince Henry reveals his true character as he leads his men into victory in Shrewsbury. Prince Henry begins his reformation with the reconciliation between him and his father in Act 3 scene 2. He continues to prove himself in Act 5 scenes 1, 4 and 5 during his leadership in the war. In Act 3 scene 2, Prince Henry is summoned to meet with his father and convinces him that he is ready to participate in the fight against the rebellion. He also convinces his father that he will make a suitable successor to the throne, not his younger brother Jon of Lancaster. He pleads with his father to give him a chance to redeem himself and show his father that he is honorable. To prove this he will kill Hotspur in battle to show that he is a better man, leader and son. In the line, “I will redeem all this on Percy’s head”(3.2. 130), Prince Henry is stating that the day he kills Hotspur is the day he can wash away his shame with Percy’s blood (3,2. 140). This scene is the beginning of Prince Henry’s interest in the court politics. He shows his true talent for politics by convincing his biggest critic that he should be appointed king. The political genius that Prince Henry is shines in Act 5 scene 1 when he puts his people above his own safety. He offers to fight Hotspur one on one to minimize the deaths of his men. He is showing bravery and honour in this moment, acting as a true king. He also shows how confident he is within himself, ready to prove his true abilities in battle to all those who doubt him. The following quote clearly states his noble intentions “And will, save the blood on either side/Try fortune with him in a single fight” (5.1. 100). Before offering to fight Hotspur he does not speak highly of himself. Avoiding arrogance, instead speaks highly of Hotspur. He states, “I do not think a braver gentleman, more active-valiant or more valiant young/more daring or more bold” (5.1. 90). By admiring the strength of Hotspur before he offers to fight him, is another political strategy to prove that he does not need to slander others in order
Chater 3 to look better. He