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The Molding of Prince Hal Through Falstaff and Hotspur

  • Date Submitted: 12/12/2011 07:32 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 55.1 
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The Molding of Prince Hal through Falstaff and Hotspur

The two characters that tip the scale in Henry IV are, without a doubt, Falstaff and Hotspur. These two repugnant personalities –honorable vs. clownish- are what spotlight Prince Hal by highlighting his two different sides. Shakespeare allows the reader to see clearly the difference between these two characters which creates a middle ground in which you receive Prince Hal. From the beginning we see Prince Hal carry that foolish and witty personality by Falstaff, however a Hotspur-like pride develops in the Prince throughout the story. Shakespeare’s way of presenting these two foil’s traits in great detail helps the reader notice the impact that Falstaff and Hotspur have on Prince Hal and ties those differences together to make similarities among the three. John Falstaff is the comical provider of Henry IV that fulfills the reader’s desire to laugh. This character is one of wit, deceit, and much humor. Being like a father figure to Hal, Falstaff’s purpose in this story is to give the reader a vivid description of what the slums are like. Thieving and cleverness are especially highlighted by the behavior of John Falstaff and although those two together usually mean trouble, for Prince Hal it is more of a window of opportunity. The Prince learns –good and bad- from Falstaff and this is purposely done by Shakespeare to give the parallel identity that defines Prince Hal. Both Falstaff and Hotspur are considered to be foils. However, I consider Falstaff as somewhat of a mirroring image of the other characters, especially Hotspur and Prince Hal. In fact, Prince Hal and Falstaff’s relationship reflects the same relationship between Hotspur and his uncle Worcester, especially in Act I, Scene III, only the characters are swapped. Whereas Prince Hal is synonymous to Worcester and Falstaff is synonymous to Hotspur because in this scene Worcester is giving wise advice (Prince Hal) while Hotspur bickers on...

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