Father/Son Relationship in Henry Iv and V

1911 Words Apr 5th, 2005 8 Pages
Shakespeare deals with a parent-child relationship in the historical plays of Henry IV Parts One and Two in the characters of Henry Bullingsworth (Henry IV) and his son Hal (Prince of Wales, later Henry V). The fact stands clear in the development of the son, Hal: the son's success in life is not dependent on his relationship to his father politically, but success is demonstrated when there is a realization of both parties on the level of parental love. Hal is not living up to his name, but also to blame in his father's failure to love. Our discussion is based solely on the text itself, based primarily on three main dialogues between Hal and his father. The first dialogue demonstrates the father as he is concerned about the family name …show more content…
You were the hope of the people, you had all the potential of building on the foundation that I left. Now it is in shambles." Hal's response is an understandable one: "I shall hereafter, my thrice-gracious lord,/Be more myself" (92, 93). Again there is not much intimacy in Hal's statement. It is more of "I will behave myself for you king". No promise of change, just an outward conformity to the king's request. Hal's comment is what the king asked for, as seen by the next speech by the king which picks up where he left off. It is almost as if the king did not really hear Hal. There is not a challenge to the shallowness of Hal's comments, no plea for intimacy with the son. After the king rehearses some of his problems about his enemies, he realizes the futility of it all: "But wherefore do I tell these news to thee?/ Why, Harry, do I tell thee of my foes,/ Which art my nearest and dearest enemy?"(121-123). The king makes the ultimate statement of separation of father and son: Why am I telling you this? You don't care! Hal's response is one that says, "Yes, I do care." Hal swears his allegiance to the cause at hand, (saving the throne,) but that seems to be the extent of his speech. A note can be made here in regard to Shakespeare's use of the pronouns you and thou. It is apparent that there is a distinction that was made between the two. Thomas Cable states: "The th- forms of the singular (thou, thee, thy, thine) were
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