"Henry Iv" Analysis

1119 words - 4 pages

William Shakespeare's "Henry IV" Part I is a play about a King named Henry and his son Prince Harry's changing relationship and a rebellion been plotted against the king to over through him. Many events occur in the play to allow the story to be told. Alongside with these events, references to disease, astronomy are used to allow us to understand important themes of the play and how characters are characterized. Throughout the course of the play, images of disease and astronomy allow us to recognize the symbolic significance of the themes of honor and disorder in the play.The theme of honor can be displayed throughout the play with the use of astronomical imagery. We can see that honor is one of the main themes of the play by the mentioning of it in the beginning of the play:"By heaven methinks it were an easy leapTo pluck bright honor from the pale-faced moon,Or dive into the bottom of the deep,Where fathom line could never touch the ground,And pluck up drowned honor by the locks,So he that doth redeem her thence might wearWithout corrival all her dignities;But out upon this half-faced fellowship!" (I.iii.201-208)This is a speech made by Hotspur which he uses the "pale-faced moon" to personify his ability of having the quality of honor within him. This honorability that he possesses is the reason why he must lead this rebellion against King Henry. He believes that the drowned honor must be plucked up from the bottom of the deep. The king's rule had disgraced honor so Hotspur wants to resurrect it. It also emphasizes that Hotspur has a very tangible conception of honor while Falstaff sees honor as being useless and gets you killed: "What is honour? A word. What is in that word 'honor'... Air"(5.i.133-134check)References to the sun are used in the play to represent King Henry and Prince Harry. It is an idea that we keep to reflect the power of men. Just as the sun is the ruler of the heavens, so the king is the "sun" on earth, the ruler of the temporal realm. As well, both royalties uses the image of a sun to describe themselves. It is first found in Prince Harry's monologue near the end of act1 scene 2 to show us the complexity and slyness of his character. He uses an image of a sun been hidden by a pack clouds to describe the condition he is in at the moment: "Yet herein will I imitate the sun, Who doth permit the base contagious clouds" (I.ii.150-151) The clouds symbolizes for being a mask that he hides behind. It also shows him for being immature for refusing to accept his noble responsibilities but instead, he joins the lower class to act as thieves. However, later he will emerge in his full glory as the heir to the throne or as the sun or son of the majesty. The word pun of sun and son are also used by Falstaff to imply that both elements are related: "If then though be son to me, here lies the point: why, being son to me, art though so pointed at? Shall the blessed sun of heaven prove a micher and eat blackberries?..............Shall the...

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