Hamlet by William Shakespeare

1097 WordsJun 24, 20185 Pages
Father Figures in 1 Henry IV In William Shakespeare’s 1 Henry IV, Falstaff and King Henry IV share father-figure relationships with Henry “Hal,” Prince of Wales. The former, a drunk and cavalier knight, acts as a surrogate father to the prince, while the latter, a determined and distanced monarch, is his blood. Yet, who is the better father-figure to Hal? Although Falstaff and Prince Henry share a strong, quasi father-son relationship, the former’s manifestation of the tavern atmosphere, venality and dishonor are obstacles to the Prince’s goals; King Henry IV, on the other hand, is the better father-figure because he motivates his son to realize his ambitions, and embodies the setting of the court and the monarchy in which the Prince…show more content…
No” (Shakespeare 54, 101). He is a survivor who possess a political acumen similar to the Prince’s and the King’s: he lies well, bides his time and plays possum to prevent his own death. The brotherly relationship he shares with the Prince in the pub almost looks fatherly when compared to the King’s sometimes cold and removed treatment. Yet, Falstaff cannot be the real father-figure to Hal due to his being an hindrance to Hal’s goals, whereas the King is a true parent, role-model and impetus for the Prince’s morality. According to Ball, “Character consists of all the qualities, traits, and features that create the nature of a person and distinguish that person from another person” (60). Clearly, the King’s qualities closely resemble those of a true father, distinguishing him from the inappropriate and wry Falstaff. First, as King he personifies the court setting to which the Prince says he wishes to return. Although Hal can operate in multiple contrasting settings, the court is the proper sphere for him to be in since he will one day occupy it as King. Also, Henry IV gives his son a greatly needed wake-up call, and subsequently inspires him to conquer his impediments. He disparages Hal’s childish behavior, which demonstrates his capacity to be

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