The Honor Tug Of War

2009 WordsNov 26, 20149 Pages
The Honor Tug of War In The First Part of King Henry IV, Shakespeare integrates the concept of honor throughout the whole play. Honor is often thought of as a symbol that signifies approval or distinction, but it is how one embodies this honor that varies in the play. Certain characters are so fixated with honor that they forget about the other aspects of their life, in direct contrast other characters have no belief in honor and only care about self-preservation. Shakespeare uses characters like this to illustrate how the positive traits can be contained in one man who embodies the truest form of honor, this being Prince Hal. By comparing Hotspur and Falstaff’s opposing views of honor, Shakespeare exposes that the Prince has the beneficial traits of the two, therefore making him the symbol of rational and noble honor. The ballad “A lamentable Ditty composed upon the Death of Robert Lord Devereux, late Earle of Essex, who was be-headed in the Tower of London, on Ashwenesday in the morning, 1600.To the tune of Welladay” illustrates how honor was viewed in the Renaissance through the story telling of a recently passed on Lord. The fourth stanza of the ballad explains how Robert Lord Devereux achieved his honor on the battlefield by stating “All men that is and was, / evermore still: / One day as it was soone, / in honour of our Queene, / Such deeds hath nere bin seene, / as he did doe.” (Pepys 27-32). This quote demonstrates that Devereux completed tasks on the battlefield
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