King Henry IV, Part I Essay

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Source: "The Characterization of the King in 1 Henry Iv;" in Shakespeare Quarterly, Vol. 30, No.1, Winter, 1979, pp. 42-50.

[Fehrenbach argues that Henry is not the protagonist of the play. He states that, unlike Hal, Hotspur, and Falstaff, the King is characterized by indirect means. Fehrenbach shows that Shakespeare teaches the reader about Henry not through Henry's words and actions, but through the words and actions of other characters. Pointing to the criticisms made of Henry by Hotspur and Worcester and to the scene in which Hal and Falstaff take turns playacting as Henry, Fehrenbach analyzes what these scenes say about how the reader should interpret Henry's character. Fehrenbach, urging the reader not to take anything Henry says at face value, maintains that there is much to learn about Henry by examining what he doesn't say. The critic gives special attention to the fact that throughout the play, Henry avoids...

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This section contains 4,505 words
(approx. 12 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the King Henry IV, Part I Study Guide
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