In Henry Iv Part 2 We See A Clear Sense Of Disorder. How Far Do You Agree?

887 words - 4 pages

From the opening lines of the novel, where rumour spreads itself causing confusion and uncertainty, the tone of disorder is set. The play can be described as having a frame of disorder, which is eventually unraveled and organized by Prince Henry. The absence of a powerful king figure has enabled civil war to flourish: The disorder in the sick King Henry IV’s mind is paralleled by disorder in his body; this is mirrored in the confused and leaderless country, where corruption and political expediency rather than noble cause prevail. Disease and disorder are recurring themes in this play; society seems to be plagued “A pox of this gout”.Sir John Falstaff’s job is seemingly to cause disorder – he breaks the law and lacks morals. He appears to spend the majority of time either in the Tavern, or a “house of ill repute”; both have strong connotations to disorder and sordidness. The witty but torpid Sir John coasts through life freeloading off people who earn a hard living, and has the ability to talk himself out of almost any situation with his verbal mastery. He can be seen at many times verbally jousting with the Lord Chief Justice, who acts as a voice of reason, and arguably order, in this play. The Lord Chief Justice is presented as an anti-Falstaff and is the only one who can control his rants. He serves as a force of order in this play, and can successfully neutralize any situation, calming and fairly resolving situations in his path.The two characters represent the choice that faces Prince Hal: to side with Falstaff with his bawdy ways and loose living, which the Prince once enjoyed or the Lord Chief Justice who is a man of principles and seeks to impose the letter of the law and order to the Country. This is one of the central themes running throughout the play. The exchanges throughout the play between Falstaff and the Lord Chief Justice are presented by Shakespeare as a power struggle; order versus disorder, the firm but fair Judge versus the lovable rogue. The audience can see that there can only be one winner in the end, as the play progresses, the balance of power shifts from Sir John to the Lord Chief Justice, mirroring the shift in the loyalty of young Bolingbroke in the same direction. In the end, Bolingbroke becomes Henry V, rejects Falstaff and embraces the Lord Chief Justice, conveying the sense that he has grown as a character and will restore order to the turmoil that was England prior to his rule.Throughout most of the play, the audience sees no clear distinction between good and bad. This is cleverly...

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