The Struggle towards Unity in "Henry IV" Analytical Essay by Hepkitty

The Struggle towards Unity in "Henry IV"
A look at how William Shakespeare, in his "Henry IV, Parts I and II", emphasizes the ideas of struggle and progress through his characterizations of Henry and Hal.
# 49245 | 2,262 words | 0 sources | MLA | 2004 | US
Published on Feb 29, 2004 in English (Analysis) , Shakespeare (Henry IV, V)

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This paper examines William Shakespeare's plays, "Henry IV, Parts I and II", and, in particular, looks at how Henry misjudges his son and cannot see that Hal, who is not guilty of usurpation and regicide, will be able to unite the now divided kingdom. It shows how Henry's faults and strengths cause him to symbolically reflect the struggle for progress, represented by the bridge between the corruption of England during Richard II's reign and the unity of Henry V's kingdom. It also explores how, after the "struggle" ceases and Henry IV dies, Prince Hal becomes King Henry V ,and the previously divided nation progresses by integration.

From the Paper:

"Hal's adoption of the commoners is best described by the Duke of Warwick when he says: "The Prince but studies his companions, / Like a strange tongue to gain the language" (Pt. II, IV, iv, 76-78.) Hal is like a growing tree basking in the sun, Henry IV is the gardener who planted Hal's seed, and the commoners form one of Hal's developing branches. By growing into a man "of all humors," (Pt. I, II, iv, 89) Hal is becoming his entire nation in an individual form, which is symbolically what a king is. Hal has studied the commoners well and is able to both talk and think like them, as portrayed in Hal's witty exchanges with Falstaff. Hal's desire to adapt to the needs of the various peoples of his country foreshadows the harmony that will dominate England when he is king."

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