King Henry Iv Essay

Submitted By maggiejheaps
Words: 733
Pages: 3

As a prince, that will someday inherit the throne, you are expected to meet very high standards in the king’s eyes. In Henry IV Part I, King Henry IV is disappointed with his son Hal who is hanging out with criminals such as his best friend Falstaff, a fat, lazy drunkard that disregards honor, and is leading a life not fit for the heir to the throne. King Henry IV is more enthralled with Hotspur, a man who is “the theme of honor’s tongue” (1.1.80). The king urges Hal to lead a life more life Hotspur, a life of honor, and leave his friends at the tavern. Hal realizes that he must listen to his father or he will lose his place as king and his father’s love. Hal undergoes a change throughout the play and finds a way to please his father. Although he became more honorable, he did not become obsessed with honor, unlike Hotspur. Because of Hal’s encounters two characters that represent two opposite opinions of honor, Falstaff and Hotspur, he learns that true honor is a middle ground and order to achieve, a balance must be met. In the beginning of Henry IV, Prince Hal spends most of his time with his tavern buddies and his best friend Falstaff. Falstaff is the definition of pathetic. He is an old man who lies and drinks everyday not worrying about the consequences. Falstaff has a terrible influence on Hal and causes him to make poor decisions that upset King Henry. Falstaff’s most emphasized trait is his lack of respect for

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honor. To him honor is “mere scutcheon” (5.2.141). He steals, lies, and makes a joke out of war. Having this belief allows him to live a fraudulent life happily and without worry. This belief also leads him to banishment. The amount of time that Hal spends around Falstaff affects his decisions and causes his behavior to become irrational. Hal realizes this and addresses it in his soliloquy by stating that how he has been acting makes his father and his people think less of him. This realization is vital to Prince Hal’s character because he is able to clearly see that lacking honor and respect for his princely position will not benefit him in the long run. Hotspur is a headstrong cocky man who thinks that he can defy King Henry by leading a rebellion. He is completely obsessed with honor and makes many of his life choices based on honor. Before King Henry hears of the rebellion, he compares Hal to Hotspur many times. His idea of a perfect prince is Hotspur because of his respectable actions. The only apparent problem that Hotspur has is that his pride clouds his good judgement and gets him killed in the end. Dying an honorable death and fighting honorably were his top priorities in battle which brought him…