Antony and Cleopatra

Horned Soldiers

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).


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