Education of a Prince Henry Iv Part 1

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Amidst the rebellion against King Henry and horrors of civil war turmoiling the country, William Shakespeare’s dramatic play King Henry IV; Part 1 scrutinizes the qualities that embody the position of a good prince. Evidently the play focuses on the transformation of King Henry’s truant son Hal who becomes the heir-apparent his father and country have been looking for. Hal’s ascension however is not wholly of his own doing. To learn the qualities he needs to have, to be true King of England he must have teachers. His two mentors Falstaff and Hotspur provide knowledge that would serve a king well when balanced, but when separated would ruin the kingdom. What it means to be a prince is made clear through the intrinsic values that Falstaff and Hotspur provide, not only this but also through his fathers tactics on what kingship is based upon. His intention of becoming a good prince is made noticeable through his soliloquy where Hal dismisses his actions as purposeful in his rise to become the chivalric “Prince of Wales. The multi-faceted, comic character of the play Falstaff not only provides the audience with spontaneous, good-natured insults between Hal and Himself but also serves as Hals second father, a parent he neither fears nor respects. It is through their capricious encounters that Falstaff reveals an inferiority that every ruler needs, this being humanity. Although a “drunkard, “swindler” with an egocentric personality, dedicating his life to pleasure of food, drink and women, his virtue of living his life purely on wits and honesty leads him not bound by concerns that trouble Hal. The mock play between Hal and the king in Act 2 scene 4 in which Falstaff takes position as Hal reveals Falstaff’s genuine concern for Hal’s rise to the throne. With his speech building to a crescendo he says “banish not him thy Harry’s company---banish plump jack, and banish all the world” this links to Falstaff’s honesty, subtly foreshadowing the qualities that Hal will...
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