Sunday, December 12, 2010

Henry IV Part I

The Question: What does it mean to be an outsider or insider and how does it affect our personalities?

In this Shakespearean play, Hal is the obvious outsider. He cannot seem to do anything right in his father's eyes. The apathetic attitude that he seems to have towards the throne most likely stems from his feelings towards his father. King Henry more than likely pushed Hal away all of his life leading to his poor decision making. We see some of that in the play through Henry's monologue about Hotspur. He wished his son could have been more like the enemy to the crown which was a slap in the face to Hal. The pub crawling gang that Hal hangs out with only worsens his alienation from the royal court.

However, he ends up doing the right thing in the end. He changes from being an outsider to becoming an insider through saving his father's life. To redeem himself from his former shame, he resolves to kill Hotspur. When there is an attempt on his father's life, he and Hotspur end up battling to the death. Hal doesn't really end up taking credit for his deeds in the end though. His friend Falstaff swoops in and steals Hal's glory. But it doesn't really matter to him. He has grown enough as a character to not need validation outside of himself. He knew that he had done the right thing and that's all that mattered.

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