The Real Hal By William Shakespeare Essay

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An Analysis of “The Real Hal” in Shakespeare’s, “Henry IV, Part One” In Shakespeare’s, “Henry IV, Part One” one of the main themes revolves around Prince Henry, also known as “Harry” or “Hal” and his continuous struggle with maturing to a point where he is ready to accept his inevitable responsibility as heir to the crown. Hal resists authority and refuses to accept his role as heir to his father’s throne until he deems it the right moment, preferring instead to hide behind this false appearance as a scoundrel and miscreant. Two scenes that mirror one another while, at the same time showing the emergence of the true Hal are Act 2, Scene 4 and Act 3, Scene 2. In Act 2, Scene 4 when Hal assumes the role of his father, we see the true Hal start to emerge for the first time while in the presence of his less reputable friends. Later, in Act 3 Scene 2, Hal, when confronted by his father, completely does away with the disguise of immaturity he has donned in order to attempt to win his father’s trust and approval. Throughout most of the first half of the play Hal presents himself as an immature, unscrupulous bully, bordering on villainous. This is displayed in Act 2, Scene 2 when he goes along with the plan presented to him by Poins in Act 1, Scene 2 in order to rob his own friends who have just committed a robbery of their own. It is however, all an act designed to fool everyone into thinking of him as a man of the people, who doesn’t think himself above the commoners.

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