Honor In King Henry IV

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King Henry IV, Part I by William Shakespeare follows the rule of King Henry IV as he tries to manage a rebel uprising in his kingdom. Shakespeare portrays history of the monarchy in this particular play, depicting social, political, and personal fixations and preoccupations of his time. The theme of honor in the play is critical to the passage in Act V, Scene IV, 76-109 of Hal’s monologue to the deceased Hotspur, both praising and criticizing him of his valiant life, in addition to speaking to Falstaff who plays dead. The passage analyzes Hal’s character development as well as contrasted the characters of Hotspur and Falstaff, comparing their honor and the implication of their deaths. In addition the impacts of the characters Hotspur and Falstaff…show more content…
Hotspur during his life has endless glory and honor. However Falstaff as a character strives to validate his honor and prove his worth, although the majority of the time he acts cowardly. Hal alludes to Falstaff character of dismay and cowardice as well as saying goodbye to his old friend. “What an old acquaintance, could not all this flesh/ Keep in a little life? Poor Jack, farwell!/ … Death hath not struck so fat a deer today,/ Though many dearer, in this bloody fray./ Embowelled will I see thee by and by,/ Till then in blood by noble Percy lie” (5.4.101-109). Shakespeare uses parallel structure to compare the effect of death on Hotspur’s honor, to the honor of Falstaff. Hotspur’s death took away all of his honor and dignity, leaving him lifeless and empty, while Falstaff’s “death” didn’t alter his honor or integrity significantly. In Hal’s eulogy of Falstaff, Hal speaks pity of him, as Hal does not see Falstaff in the same light as he does with Hotspur. Hal speaks highly of Hotspur and admires his valiance while criticizing his ego, but with Falstaff Hal speaks pity of him, not acknowledging any instances of bravery or courage. Prince Hal’s eulogy of Falstaff is humorous, recalling their past and time together and does not reference to any honor Falstaff may have. However it provides another moment of Hal’s character development, as he he takes time to say goodbye to his time with Falstaff definitely, and moves towards his begins his new life of responsibility and prestige. After Hal leaves, Falstaff rises and speaks about honor, and believes he does have more honor in comparison to Hotspur. Falstaff speaks about how dead Hotspur is imitating to be alive, while Falstaff pretends to be dead in order to live explaining his actions were ones of audacity. Falstaff comes up with excuses to
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