In The First Part of King Henry the Fourth, Shakespeare presents Prince Hal; a young man faced with his coming of age as king. Prince Hal is torn between a world filled with youthful irresponsibility and a world that consists of adult political seriousness. Shakespeare uses several dramatic foils to highlight Prince Hals inner conflict. One foil Shakespeare uses is the contrast between the childish Sir John Falstaff and the old-fashioned war-like Harry (Hotspur) Percy. Shakespeare also uses Hotspur as a rival for Prince Hal to measure himself against. Another foil is the parallel between Falstaff acting as a parental guide for Prince Hal and the guidance of King Henry IV the princes actual father. Shakespeare also uses setting to highlight the two worlds that divide Prince Hal. Shakespeare constantly switches back and forth between the atmosphere of a noisy tavern and the sober arena of the political world. In the end Prince Hal resolves his coming of age and takes on his own adult existence that is separate from that of his fathers. In King Henry the Fourth Part 1 Shakespeare contrasts the hedonistic Sir John Falstaff with the virtuous warrior Harry (Hotspur) Percy. Falstaff is the princes fat jolly companion. Falstaff is first introduced to us as a drunk, lazy, womanizer (1.2. 2-12). The prince and Falstaff engage in activities in which are not considered to be appropriate for a prince. The duo; drink, commit foolish crimes, and mock each other. Falstaffs zest for life is his most honorable characteristic. Falstaffs friendship allows Prince Hal to explore and vent his childish energy. Hotspur embodies all the characteristics of a traditional noble warrior; he is brave, loyal, and full of chivalry. All Hotspurs virtues are Falstaff faults. Conversely Falstaffs virtues are Hotspurs faults. Hotspur presents Prince Hal with a princely chivalric measuring stick to compare himself to. But Hotspur is als…
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