Henry IV Part 2

What you are in the Dark: A Character Analysis of Prince Hal College

In the 16th century, Niccolo Machiavelli stated on "The Prince" that leadership came mostly from theatrics. That is to say, to be a good leader one must first be a good actor, or at the very least be convincing enough to get the loyalty of the people. In a time where the political situation of his kingdom was so precarious, when the people were so divided and opposed to one another, it is no surprise that King Henry IV was so concerned with the apparent lack of leadership within his son. He was, however completely unaware of the manipulative and sly nature of Prince Hal, who had a plan of his own in order to achieve the people's love. While his character may appear to undergo severe character development, Prince Hal (And the future Henry V) was rather acting the different roles both his subjects and his father needed him to take, being then one of the most static characters in the entire tetralogy. Through Prince Hal, Shakespeare explores the idea of a Machiavellian prince, one more focused on the theatrics of politics in order to achieve what he desired.

Throughout Henry IV Part I and Part II, the reader "sees" Hal grow into the future King, the one meant to unite all of England. When he is first introduced, he is (according...

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