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Henry IV Biography

The father and son relationship is one of the most important aspects through the youth of a young man. In Shakespeares play Henry IV, he portrays the concept of having “two fathers”. King Henry is Hals natural father, and Falstaff is Hals moral father. Hal must weigh the pros and cons of each father to decide which model he will emulate. Falstaff, who is actually Hals close friend, attempts to pull Hal into the life of crime, but he refuses.

Hal seems to lack honor at the commencement of the play, but near the end we see him display a different kind true honor which will be explained more in depth. Hal also shows is honor when he rejects the requests put forth by his good friend Falstaff and sides with his natural father to fight loyally. Even though Henry views Hal as an unworthy candidate for the thrown, Hal proves him wrong by displaying attributes that are very honorable. In King Henrys point of view, Hal doesnt seem much like an heir to his thorwn.

Instead of living at the court to aid his father govern England, he frolics in the Taverns of Eastcheap with a group of petty thieves. There are two different views that the audience can perceive as to why Hal constantly goes to the Tavern. Firstly, it might be o that he can escape his responsibilities. Second, it could be so that Hal can learn the lives of the people that he will eventually be governing. Depending on which one you believe, it will show your own decision as to whether you conceive Hal as being responsible and honorable or vice versa.

Falstaff who seems to be Hals role model while in the Tavern, is putting forth a great deal of effort to have Hal conform into the lowlife that he himself has made himself out to be. Falstaff teaches Hal how to lie, cheat, and steal, but Hal seems to have a mind of his own. He tells his father that at any given moment he an change his character and be what his father wants him to be. Henry declines to believe these statements. Before the final battle Falstaff asks for Hals protection.

Hals response is, “Say thy prayers, and farewell. Why, thou owest God a death”(5. 1. 124-126). This statement gives the impression that Hal has had a change of heart. In Act 5. 2, Hal shows a different kind of honor when he attempts to take away all of Hotspurs honor. Hal isnt as interested in gaining honor for its own sake as he is in forcing Hotspur to render up all of his. This scene displays how Hal is honorable for himself and for himself only. Hal nd his true father go into battle versus Hotspur and his father Douglas.

Just when King Henry is cornered, Hal comes to the rescue and then kills Hotspur. This immediately gives Henry a change of heart, and for the first time, he is proud of his son. As shown in this paper Hal is only honorable to a certain extent. He is dishonorable at the beginning of the play by stealing for fun, but he changes his ways and finds his true self by the end of the play. He shows true honor in the final act of the play by finally realizing that the right thing to do is to stick with his “real” family, and not put your friends before your blood.

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