Sunday, February 6, 2011

Where For Art Thou Prince Hal?

King Henry IV. Play, written by William Shakespeare. The protagonist, Prince Henry (Hal) is the son of Henry Bolingbroke, current King of England, who needs a more dependable heir than his ruffian of a son, who hangs around in a pub with his gang of small timers and lazy ragamuffins. Hal thinks himself clever, waiting for his moment to save the day and earn his father's crown. Hal's nemesis, Hotspur, also seeks the crown with his band of Welshmen and disenfranchised Englishmen looking to reclaim the throne they gave to Bolingbroke.

Hal's journey is that of redemption and slowly climbing his way to his father's side. While he is attempting to redeem himself, he slowly changes who he is, turning his pub crowd slightly against him, with its leader, Sir john Falstaff being upset with Hal because he is changing who he is to become his father's successor.

So, did Hal ever look back at his actions to see how it was changing him? Some would argue to say so. I think that Hal's reflection of himself being like the sun hiding behind a cloud to be an agreement with Hal's conscious decision to change who he is in order to assume the throne. But is his self-diagnosis caused by loyalty to his father and a want to become closer to him? or is Hal just another greedy crown-seeker?

Regardless of his motivation for getting the crown, Hal's reflection is caused by his place in line for the throne, as his father's heir. Hal's reason for reflection is his advancement of his title and place in society. Advancement through the social structure is the reason man will reflect upon his life and travels when facing a trying situation.

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