Henry IV Part 1

Invisible Kings

"I want to be invisible...I paint my face and travel at night." Ralph Reed, as quoted in The Virginian Pilot and Ledger Star, 11/9/91

Attaining "invisibility," or privacy from the glaring eye of the public, remains a distinct desire of modern society. This goal has spawned the creation of "high-tech" home security systems, pseudonyms for anyone from famous authors to the average person purchasing "indecent" material off the Internet, and safeguards on computers' hard drives. Moreover, the book market has been inundated by works that teach how to protect personal information from the prying eyes of telemarketers, con artists, or vengeful former lovers. J.J. Luna, author of How to Be Invisible, a guide to "protecting you assets, your identity, and your life," aptly describes the situation: "Privacy is now poised to become the most sought-after luxury of the twenty-first century" (Luna 1). But why do people go to such great lengths to keep their public and private lives separate? Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part One seems to offer the answer. Henry IV presents us with a rich medley of characters who, not surprisingly, have "erotic, fiscal" and...

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