Aristotle: Poetry More Philosophical Than History Loyola Philosophy 319 Essay

2008 words - 9 pages

Philosophy 319
Aristotle says that poetry is more philosophical than history because it deals more with universals than with particulars. I understand this to mean that poetry is more than just a piece of history but also an insight to some of the relevant themes in philosophy. Aristotle defines poetry as mimetic, generating an exemplification of objects or events that we know or are common to us. This being a great reason as to why poetry is more philosophic, because we can see it and imagine replicating it in our own lives. The nature of honor in Henry IV Part I is a prominent theme that each character defines differently. This giving multiple views on a single topic, much like philosophy does.
Honor is a theme that is presented several times in Henry IV Part I by several people, each describing it differently. While honor is a common word that most people know, the way in which a person defines it can be completely different from the way another person defines it, and they both would be correct. In the poem, there is King Henry (Hotspur), Prince Harry (Hal), and Falstaff who at some point, all state what honor means to them. King Henry, Hotspur, is part of the powerful Percy family who had a part in bring King Henry IV to power. However, the Percy family feels as though the king has taken them for granted, this causing tension between Hotspur and Hal (the son of King Henry IV). Hotspur holds the concept of honor as a very righteous concept, seeing it as one’s abilities on the battlefield and the reputation that is made with it. Prince Harry, Hal, sees honor as a something that he can attain by transforming his current image into one of a more honorable and moral prince. However, Hal’s goal of having an ‘honorable prince’ image is one of secrecy and manipulation. Falstaff is the outlier when defining honor, even though Hal is his closest friend. Falstaff sees honor as something for those who have died and even then, he does not see the importance in attaining ‘honor’. Throughout the entire poem the meaning of honor stays unique to each character, never agreeing to one definition of honor.
Fittingly, the first mention of honor comes from King Henry IV whilst speaking of a young warrior, Hotspur. Hotspur was involved in a battle that concluded in his taking of prisoners, which impressed the king very much. “…the theme of honour’s tongue,” (1. 1. 80) the king says of Hotspur, being that Hotspur is the defining element of honor. This shows how King Henry IV defines honor, by those who triumph in battle and are courageous. Hotspur does not feel the same admiration for King Henry IV as King Henry IV feels for him. In fact, Hotspur feels as though King Henry IV has selfishly deprived some of his family’s honor after they helped him take the thrown, and wants to restore some of that honor by overthrowing King Henry IV. Hotspur collaborates with his father, Northumberland, and his cousin, Worcester, on his plan to restore honor by...

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