King Henry IV, Part I Essay

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The primary debate regarding the character of Hal concerns his reformation, or transformation, as it has been called by various critics. Some critics, including Gareth Lloyd Evans and Herbert Weisinger maintain that Hal's reformation is an act. The "act" involves Hal's friendship with Falstaff, his immersion in the world of England's commoners, his seeming irresponsibility and the carelessness he seems to demonstrate where his reputation as Prince is concerned. Evans argues that Hal's purpose is to gather information about the common people, the people he will one day rule. Weisinger contends that the purpose of the act is the dramatic and political impact resulting when Hal gives up this life in Falstaff's world. Weisinger also argues that Hal is an ideal hero, and other critics, including G. I. Duthie, agree with this assessment. Some critics take a harsher view of Hal, accusing him of manipulating Falstaff, of insincerity...

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This section contains 4,743 words
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Buy the King Henry IV, Part I Study Guide
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King Henry IV, Part I from Shakespeare for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.