Henry IV Part 1

Vestiges of Hal in Shakespeare's Henry V

Vestiges of Hal in Shakespeare's Henry V

by, Anonymous

October 17, 2004

Over the course of Shakespeare's Henry IV and Henry V plays, the character of Henry V evolves from a reckless youth to a great King and revered hero. In 1 Henry IV the Prince confides to the audience that his irresponsible behavior is a sham that he means to throw off when he becomes king, so that his miraculous transformation will lend the public persona he unveils as King all the more glory and wonder. Henry's development as he evolves from Prince Hal to King Henry V of England is significant, but not complete. Despite the seeming perfection of his deportment and courtly manners, traces of the disreputable Prince Hal still emerge in King Henry's behavior, particularly when he is in stressful or emotional situations. Henry V seems to be prone to using deceit when it is the easiest way to obtain a goal, liable to play mean-spirited pranks when the fancy strikes him and susceptible to making rash decisions when angered. These faults indicate that while Henry has taken on a more kingly persona, this self is not as different from Prince Hal as he had intended.

The first of Henry's flaws to which readers are introduced is the King's tendency...

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