Fathers in "Henry IV, Part 1" Book Review by Nicky

An analysis of the themes of surrogate and literal fathers in William Shakespeare's "Henry IV, Part 1".
# 145757 | 1,657 words | 1 source | MLA | 2010 | US
Published on Nov 26, 2010 in English (Analysis) , Shakespeare (Henry IV, V)

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This paper discusses how William Shakespeare's play "Henry IV, Part 1," although called a 'history play', is just as much a play about relationships, specifically dysfunctional relationships between fathers and sons. The paper examines how Henry IV spends most of the play openly rebuking his son Prince Hal, only to find himself betrayed by the man he says he wishes were his son, Harry Percy, known as Hotspur. It also examines how Prince Hal, on the surface, seems to reject his father's warrior mentality, although he says he is only engaging in 'prodigal' behavior like drinking, stealing, and 'wenching' as a public relations ploy before he becomes king. The paper concludes that Prince Henry's behavior is an act, a carefully staged move to seem low, because Hal is determined to become an even greater leader than his stern father.

From the Paper:

"Hal's primary relationship is with Sir John Falstaff, a fat old man even more dissipated than the prince. Hal and Falstaff seem to have more of a close father-son dynamic than Hal does with his own father, although Hal keeps the upper hand by tricking Falstaff and publically mocking Sir John, much the way his father mocks Hal. This suggests Hal does have emotional needs that remain unsatisfied, and are only fulfilled with his relationship with Falstaff. However, by the end of the play, Falstaff clearly demonstrates that he has his own personal interests that he places above Hal's needs to secure his reputation. Hal learns at the end of ``Henry IV, Part 1'' that he can only really trust himself. He cannot trust Falstaff, his surrogate father, to tell the truth, and he cannot trust his real father's advisors to believe that he is also a great warrior."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Shakespeare, William. "Henry IV, Part 1." The Shakespeare Homepage. MIT Classics Homepage. February 5, 2009. http://shakespeare.mit.edu/1henryiv/index.html

Cite this Book Review:

APA Format

Fathers in "Henry IV, Part 1" (2010, November 26) Retrieved April 20, 2024, from https://www.academon.com/book-review/fathers-in-henry-iv-part-1-145757/

MLA Format

"Fathers in "Henry IV, Part 1"" 26 November 2010. Web. 20 April. 2024. <https://www.academon.com/book-review/fathers-in-henry-iv-part-1-145757/>