Hal's Relationship to His Father vs Falstaff in Shakespeare's Henry Iv

Topics: Henry V of England, Falstaff, Henry V Pages: 2 (841 words) Published: December 9, 2012
King Henry V is one of the greatest kings that ever ruled England and was a favorite among his people. One of the reasons behind this is the presence of two men in his life; his father, King Henry IV, and Sir John Falstaff, his lowlife friend and bar companion. Both men represent two opposite father - figures to the young prince. It is the Prince’s ability to take and acquire the best traits in each that makes him surpass both of them and become great. Prince Hal’s relationship with both men is one of conflict. On one hand, his relationship with his father is tumultuous, while on the other his relationship with Falstaff is confusing. Though it is the main source of his father’s disapproval, Prince Hal learns a great deal from his relationship with Falstaff, more than he does learn from his father. This relationship, and the time he spends at the taverns, served him well, not only in “glitt’ring [his reformation] o’er [his] fault … show[ing] [it] more goodly, and attract[ing] more eyes,” but also in teaching him everything that he needs to know about his future subjects. He knows how they think, what their needs are, and most importantly, how to appeal to them. Such knowledge, however, will help him avoid the mistakes committed by Richard II and his father, King Henry IV, later on. In addition, Hal acquires the trait of deceit from Falstaff, though he channels it to serve good ends. He deceives Falstaff to uncover his lies, deceives the traitors who were bribed to kill him and finally he disguises himself to converse with the soldiers during the war to know their fears and deliver a speech that lifts their spirit the next day. Up above all this, he deceives the whole nation and the adjacent countries into believing that he is a reckless young boy who is good for nothing and eventually surprises every one. Prince Hals’ relationship with his father alternates between feelings of disapproval and suspicion on his father’s part. At the very beginning...
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