Military prowess is a quality attributed to many of Shakespeare's male characters. Great military men such as Hotspur, Lear, Hal and Julius Caesar share a proclivity for the military arts with Othello and Marc Antony. As a superior dramatist, Shakespeare employs specific literary techniques in presenting this type of character to an audience. They are consistently portrayed as outsiders or outcasts, even amongst friends and family, and essentially become threats to themselves and those around them. Hal, in Henry IV Part 1, is ultimately an outsider throughout the text. In the tavern with Falstaff, Hal is a prince waiting for the right moment to rise to greatness, and planning to leave behind Falstaff, either to death or banishment. Hal does not belong in the presence of his father because of his chosen path of exile from his duty as prince; Bolingbroke wishes Hotspur were his son instead:
... Lord Northumberland
Should be the father to so blest a son:
A son who is the theme of honor's tongue,
Amongst a grove the very straightest plant;
Who is sweet fortune's minion and her pride;
Whilst I, by looking on the praise of him,
See riot and dishonor stain the brow
Of my young Harry (I.1.78-85 Signet Edition).
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 820 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 6114 literature essays, 1715 sample college application essays, 245 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in