In Henry The IV Part 1 The Transformation Of Prince Hal Is Central To Shakespeare's Presentation Of Kingship.
Looking At Two Different Scenes In The Play, Explore The Ways In Which Shakespeare Analyses Issues Related To Kingship And How Each Would Appear To Its Elizabethan Audience William Shakespeare was born in 1564 in the town of Stratford upon Avon. He died in 1616 but is still today one of the most renowned playwrights of all time. He has written 37 different plays in many different styles, for example comedy, history, tragedy, roman and others.Further more he is responsible for revolutionising English drama and hence culture through both his poetry and drama. He wrote plays that would have appealed to the Elizabethan people this is why his plays are written in the rich language that was used at the time.
His main audience would have been common people who could not read or write so for entertainment they used imagery. Elizabethan people would have either gone to the theatre, gone bearbaiting or cockfighting; this was their idea of entertainment.Henry the IV Part 1 is based on a true story set in 1399 and is centred around the idea of kingship. This is due to the fact that the Elizabethan public of the time were very interested in the lives of the nobles and the idea of kingship.
Even though it is set in the past the play is clearly designed for the Elizabethan public as it represents the end of the old politics and the start of the new capitalism over feudalism. The key characters in the play are: King Henry Bolingbroke (Henry the IV) Prince Hal Bolingbroke (Son of the king heir to the throne)Harry Hotspur (Son of the earl of Northumberland) Sir John Falstaff (Prince Hal's companion) The play is set in two worlds. The so-called honourable life of the court, and the dark world of the tavern. Each with their prospective rulers for; the court the ruler is King Henry, and for the tavern the ruler is Sir John Falstaff. In between these realms sitting in the middle is the Prince, Hal caught up between the desire to please his father and his own whims.
He cannot go too far down the easy road of dishonour nor can he be too much like his father for then he will be the right kind of king.There are two scenes, which I feel show the transformation that overcomes Hal and in which Shakespeare depicts to his audience the beginning of the end for Falstaff's realm. These are. Act II scene 4 and then Act III scene 2 The first scene that I believe is appropriate to analyse that shows the beginning of the transformation within Prince Hal is Act II Scene 4.
This would have been one of the most humorous of all the scenes to the audience of the time as it holds many punch lines and represents a mockery of the crown.The scene starts with an example of Falstaff's deceptive nature, when he claims that he and his group of robbers were attacked by an ever-growing group of thieves who drove them off and won the stolen chest. What Falstaff doesn't realise is that the group of thieves that drove Falstaff's group away were none other then Prince Hal and his friend Poins. When they reveal this fact to Falstaff and tell him that they know he is lying and that he fled like a coward, Falstaff thinks fast and makes up another excuse claiming that he knew that it was Hal and he ran so he didn't need to hurt the Prince.This part of the scene is filled with banter and so would have been very appealing to the audience.
The most influential part of this scene is were Prince Hal and Falstaff act out what they feel the king will say in his interview with Hal in the morning. Firstly Falstaff plays the king and Hal himself. Falstaff as king demands Hal to exile all of his friends who lead him astray except Falstaff who he claims is "most noble of carriage". When Hal hears this he deposes Falstaff and makes himself the king. This is a highly ironic moment as the way in which King Henry Hal's father came to power is by deposition.
This time Hal acts more serious though it is clear banter is involved when he says "there is a devil haunts thee in the likeness of an old fat man". This is the first time through out the play in which Hal reasons with himself and opens up and says it is Falstaff's fault that he is the way he is. Hal finishes his criticism of Falstaff with the naming of the man so far in the kings favour "Falstaff that old white bearded Satan". Then Falstaff pleads on his account to Hal claiming that he is valiant and sweet.
He then begs Hal not to banish Falstaff from the company of Hal.Falstaff (as Prince Hal)....
Falstaff - banish not him form thy Harry's company. Banish plump jack, and banish the world Hal replies with the famous line. Prince Hal (as the king) I do, I will This concludes the play interview. The reason I feel that this shows the beginning of the transformation that turns Hal from the "mad cap Prince" into the heir to the throne is because I feel that at the point where he plays king he realises that eventually he will become king and that he will have the responsibility to banish people from his presence if they do not give him the correct direction.
The insult of calling Falstaff "the white bearded Satan" indicates that he is the lord of the under world and the king of deception and lies. The most important line in this scene is (Hal) "I do, I will" as it shows the impending rejection of Falstaff, because for Hal to become king he must reject sin and corruption. These are the things, that Falstaff stands for. One way in which Shakespeare gets his message across to the audience is by using iambic pentameter.This is when he writes in lines of 10 syllables 5 are stressed and 5 are unstressed. Shakespeare uses the iambic pentameter to show when nobles are speaking.
For a working class character then he uses ordinary prose. The way we notice this is that Hal is the only noble that doesn't speak in iambic pentameter this represents that Hal is not yet immerged in his proper role at the court , he is more in touch with the dishonest world of the tavern. The next scene that I feel is influential is Act II scene 4.This is the scene wherein the actual confrontation between the king and his rebellious son where they tell each other how they feel. The scene starts with the king ordering all lords to leave the room so that he and Prince Hal can talk in private. The king starts by demanding of God weather he is being punished for his taking of the crown and killing of the rightful king and if Hal is his punishment.
Hal then says that most of the wrong things he has been accused of are just mutterings from newsmongers.King Henry rebukes this and demands Hal to be loyal to him , in addition he compares him to Richard II "the skipping king who ambled up and down with shallow jesters" . Hal says that he will be more like himself but Henry is still incensed and then says "And even as I was then Percy is now. Now by my sceptre, and my soul to boot, he hath more worthy interest to the state than thou the shadow of succession". Hal tells his father that he will kill Hotspur and so take all of his glories.
King Henry then gives Hal some money to raise an army and lead it. The main thing that is clear throughout this scene is the disappointment of King Henry and the fear that Hotspur will depose him. During the interview Hal starts to talk in iambic pentameter and this could show his initiation into the noble world leaving behind his old common world. Throughout the interview it is plain that King Henry sees himself in Hotspur and fears it because he believes if Hal were King then a rebellion would be appropriate.In addition he sees Hal as a Richard figure as he acts like a fool, by "mingling his royalty with capering fools".
More over he also sees Hal's companion Falstaff as a threat not only because he is a bad role model but also when Hal becomes king he might give Falstaff some authority and he might abuse it or even worse might usurp Hal. This scene would have been very interesting to the Elizabethan audience, as they would not have seen a king in such a way in which they are not happy.It is unlikely that they would have realised that the monarch that they see is not the same behind the closed doors of a room, it would have intrigued them to see a family incident. In conclusion I feel that the scenes that I analysed were influential in the final result of Hal as he ended up King Henry V, who was one of the most renowned king of all time. This play shows the two worlds, which make a great king, I feel that if Hal had not experienced the world of the tavern then he would not have turned out as he did.
For to be a great king Hal could not follow any of the role models presented to him. He couldn't follow down the path of Falstaff, as it was dishonest. He could not either follow his father the king as he both usurped and caused a rebellion. And he could not follow in the footsteps of Hotspur, as he was to blood thirsty and brash.
So the mix between the world of the tavern and the court was just appropriate for the young Prince. And indeed he brought a balanced perspective to his role.