The Unity of Robbery and Rebellion in "Henry IV Part 1" Analytical Essay by Nicky

An analysis of the themes of robbery and rebellion in Shakespeare's "Henry IV Part 1".
# 150070 | 1,509 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2012 | US
Published on Jan 24, 2012 in Drama and Theater (English) , Literature (English) , Shakespeare (Henry IV, V)

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The paper highlights the parallels between Sir Falstaff's actions and character and the overall plot of robbery and rebellion in this play. The paper points out how the moments of rebellion and disloyalty lead to a new and often stronger perception of loyalty both with Henry IV himself and with Hal's decision to become a thief and his rebellion against Falstaff. The paper emphasizes that Henry IV Part 1 uses both robbery and rebellion as a way of showing the contrasting positive notions of retribution and redemption.

From the Paper:

"Rebellion can occur in many ways. Within the action of Henry IV Part 1, Henry IV references his usurpation--a definite type of rebellion--against Richard II and Hal's rebellion against his noble heritage by carousing with Falstaff, the rebel lords declare their intentions against the king (the most overt rebellion in the play), Falstaff vaguely rebels against his future king in repeated verbal assaults, and Hal ultimately rebels against his seeming-mentor Falstaff when he becomes noble and accepts his role as heir to the throne. It has even been suggested that Prince Hal needed to spend time with Falstaff in order to understand his future subjects, and that his seeming rebellion against his nature as heir apparent was in fact designed to make him a better king (Mabillard). This idea that rebellion could actually occur along principles that uphold the position if not the person of the monarchy is seen throughout the play.
"This is certainly what is seen in Hal's decision to become a thief. Falstaff initially hatches a plan to rob some travelers on the midnight road, enlisting Hal's aid in the venture. Hal eventually aggress, but hatches his own plan and robs Falstaff and the other thieves in disguise, eventually returning the stolen money and property to its rightful owners. When Hal reveals his deeds to Falstaff, the latter rejoins by saying he knew it was Hal: "Was it for me to kill the heir apparent?" (II. iv. 222)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Mabillard, Amanda. "1 Henry IV: Analysis." Shakespeare Online, 2006. Accessed 31 August 2009.
  • Over, William. "Review: Henry IV Parts I II." Theatre Journal 31(4), pp. 545-6.
  • Rubinstein, E. "1 Henry IV: The Metaphor of Liability." Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 10(2), pp. 287-95.
  • Shakespeare, William. The First part of King Henry IV. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
  • Wentersdorf, Karl P. "Shakespeare and Carding: Notes on Cruxes in 1 Henry IV and in Twelfth Night." Shakespeare Quarterly 36(2), pp. 215-9.

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The Unity of Robbery and Rebellion in "Henry IV Part 1" (2012, January 24) Retrieved September 29, 2023, from

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"The Unity of Robbery and Rebellion in "Henry IV Part 1"" 24 January 2012. Web. 29 September. 2023. <>