King Henry IV, Part I Essay

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Source: "Uneasy Lies: Language and History in Shakespeare's Lancastrian Tetralogy," in Shakespeare Quarterly, Vol. 35, No.1, Spring, 1984, pp, 22-39.

[MacDonald explores the use and manipulation of language in Henry IV, Part One. He shows how oaths are made and contradicted and how the use of oaths indicates the moral superiority of characters in the play, MacDonald goes on to show how the exploitation of language has become a necessity in the new world, that is, the world created when Henry usurped Richard II. MacDonald argues that much of Hal's education is devoted to his learning how to manipulate language.]

. . . Here is a sampling of oaths, selected not quite at random from the literally hundreds that stuff the language of Henry IV:

1 By the Lord, and I do not, I am a villain.
(I.ii.96)
2. I'll make one, an' I do not, call me Villain
and baffle me.
(I.II...



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This section contains 1,935 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the King Henry IV, Part I Study Guide
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