Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Henry IV, Act V, scene 1 and Directions

Rebels and Pub-Crawlers, post your comment about this scene below.

Act V Instructions:

All 3 comments must be posted to the blog by Friday, October 6.
  • Courtiers: Read and think about how to perform 5.1, 5.3, and 5.4. Post comments about 5.2 and 5.5.
  • Rebels: Read and think about how to perform 5.2, 5.3, and 5.4. Post comments about 5.1 and 5.5.
  • Pub-Crawlers: Read and think about how to perform 5.3, 5.4, and 5.5. Post comments about 5.1 and 5.2.
  • All groups: Post a comment to someone in Mr. Sale's class or in Mrs. Makovsky's class. (Find the link to Mr. Sale's blog in the Act IV, scene 1 blog.)

17 Comments:

Blogger haley said...

5. Hal has made a complete turn-around from the beginning of the book. He is ready to fight for his father and has even made a very noble suggestion,
"Yet this before my father's majesty:
I am content that he shall take the odds
Of his great name and estimation,
And will, to save the blood on either side,
Try fortune with him in a single fight."
He has truly taken on a kingly role by offering to lay down his life to save the life of his father and his countrymen. He has transformed from a little boy to a man. He has taken his responsibilities and is fighting for his own honor. I am impressed with his turnaround!

2:54 PM  
Blogger Jesse! said...

Scene I’s final speech is presented by Falstaff and for the first time, he cuts out all the comedic flourishes and questions the serious issue of honor. He reflects that honor cannot be seen, felt, comfort one in death or grief. In lines 135-136 he comments:
“What is ‘honor’? A word. What is that word
‘honor’? What is that ‘honor’? Air.”
Falstaff is unable to grasp ideas and spirituality; he contrasts Hotspur and Hal because his pleasure lies in tangible objects such as food and money (for food). You can say that he feels with his stomach rather than his heart or mind. Winning a battle means nothing which is why he crudely set up an army of beggars and weaklings. However, Falstaff is also hypocritical because ironically, he claims in Scene IV to have killed Hotspur in order to gain honor. Why would he do the exact opposite of what he claimed before?
Falstaff’s speech parallels Hotspurs honor speech from Act I scene III in which he describes that he must “pluck up drowned honor by the locks”(line 210). Hotspur’s honor is symbolic, a tangible “maiden” which contrasts Falstaff’s honor as vague “air”. It is interesting that Hotspur’s extreme obsession with honor and Falstaff’s lack of virture lead both to downfall in overindulgent sin and death. Like Prince Hal’s character, there must always be a balance between two extremes.

4:09 PM  
Blogger The Katie S. said...

5. Throughout the play, the King always seems somewhat deceived particularly in his assessments of others. People are always acting against him; he is never acting against others. His accusations do not cease at the beginning of Act 5, Scene 1 as he accuses Worcester of betraying him: "How now, my Lord of Worcester? 'Tis not well/ That you and I should meet upon such terms/ As now we meet. You have deceived our trust/ And made us doff our easy robes of peace/ to crush our old limbs in ungentle steel./ This is not well, my lord; this is not well" (5.1.10-15). Worcester is betraying the king? True enough he is rebelling, but his interests seem fair because King Henry stole the throne from the rightful heir, yet uses subtle maneuvers such as the royal 'we' (or in this case 'our') to seem like he is not the only victim in the situation.
Often in history, a particularly great or beloved ruler comes after a rather unsuitable one for one reason or another. Is it because they see the other's mistake or simply everyone is relived from the first that they treat the next far more graciously? In Hal's case, it's rather debatable since his father creeps about while looking most pompous and superior. He's a twisted version of a wolf in sheep's clothing.

4:49 PM  
Blogger MeganF said...

5. One idea I found intriguing in this scene was Worcester’s role in deception. So often the reader is focused on Hotspur’s outrageous personality and blames the rebellion on him; however, Worcester plays a crucial role in orchestrating the upcoming war. Instead of being blunt, Worcester tends to work behind the scenes. Although he planted the idea of rebellion in Hotspur's head earlier in the play, in this scene he tells the King, "Hear me, my liege: for mine own part I could be well content to entertain the lag end of my life with quiet hours. For I do protest I have not sought the day of this dislike,” (22-26). He acts as if he doesn't even want the rebellion to take place, when he actually stirred it up. Later we also learn that he purposefully does not communicate Hotspur's and the King's plan to call the war off because he believes he will get punished by the King. His will to continue the war contradicts his statement that he would not want anything more in his old age than peace. Worcester also does not trust the King when the King tells him, "And, will they take the offer of our grace, both he and they and you, yea, every man Shall be my friend again, and I'll be his," (106-108). Even though the King told him that is peace was made everything would be restored, Worcester’s cunning deceitfulness led him away from the King's truth and towards the war. This scene made me consider Worcester’s role in the war over Hotspur's.

7:46 PM  
Blogger MeganF said...

Jesse-
I agree with everything you said about Falstaff's love for tangible items instead of the idea of glory. Although we criticize Hotspur for obsessing over honor and power, it is easy to look down on Falstaff for lack of desire. It seems almost not human to not want honor. To answer your question, I think the reason Falstaff pretends he killed Hotspur was not for honor but almost as another joke, only way less funny. Sure, he said out loud, "If your father will do me any honor, so; if not, let him kill the next Percy himself. I look to be either earl or duke, I can assure you," (136) but I don't think Falstaff really means what he says. He doesn't expect to become a duke for killing Hotspur because he does not long to live that life of luxury, he was meant to be a pub crawler and he enjoys it. I don't think Falstaff actually believes people think he killed Hotspur, no one would believe Falstaff's word over the valiant Hal. Falstaff claiming he killed Hotspur is just another one of his sick jokes and not a ploy for honor.

2:37 PM  
Blogger Jimmy N. said...

5. Hal's matamorphisis from unruly adolescense to valiant, noble knight becomes complete in this scene. At the start of the play, Hal, who was still in his immature phase of hanging out with indecent peasants, was still growing up, trying to fing his place in the world. Now, with battle approaching, we see that Hal has risen to the occasion and stepped up to the plate, in his offering to fight Hotspur, another valiant, noble knight. Hal demonstrates his newfound pride and courage, by offering to wage the outcome of the entire war on one single fight between Hotspur and himself. Hal claims, " For my part, I may speak it to my shame, I have been a truant to chivalry, And so I hear he doth account me too... And will, to save the blood on either side, try fortune with him in a single fight, (90-100)." Hal tries to almost sucker Hotspur into the fight by lowering his own self-esteem in his reference to his truancy to chivalry. Hal also demonstrates his cleverness through putting himself down. In making Hotspur think he is still an immature youth, he would then be able to smite an unexpected Hotspur in a single battle.

3:16 PM  
Blogger Jimmy N. said...

Megan-

I really like your idea of how Worcester is a much more devious character than we give him credit. It is indeed, very true that for every time Hotspur flies off the handle about revolution and all the wrongs Henry had caused his family, Worcester is right there with him, stirring the pot, only to instigate even more of a sense of revolution among the rebels. However I think Worcester's enabaling behavior was absolutely necessary to achieve the heightened sense of anger which Hotspur aquired just before the battle. Worcester's role was a very large one in that he, played a crucial vice in the coming of the war.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Emma V said...

Jesse-
I love your connection that both Hotspur’s value of honor and Falstaff’s lack of virtue, lead them both to their downfall.

Falstaff’s speech at the end of scene one shows him in a more serious light when he questions why honor is held up so high, by so many people. I do not think that his speech is hypocritical however. Because Falstaff only values tangible items like food, alcohol, and money, his mind-set is focused on instant gratification. By claiming that he truly killed Hotspur, Falstaff is thinking about his reward and the perks that would be associated with honor. Falstaff had no interest in honor itself. I also think that Falstaff takes some pleasure in “deceiving” the nobleman and might find it humorous that a person like him could be granted honor.

4:38 PM  
Blogger Betsy H said...

5. I really noticed Prince Henry's character in this scene. I agree with Haley that he has stepped into a kingly role, but it seems like he has forgotten his friends, like Falstaff. Every time Falstaff speaks, Hal quickly shuts him up: "Rebellion lay in his way, and he found it." Hal: "Peace, chewet, peace." Even if Falstaff is trying to add in something meaningful, Hal shuts him down. Is Hal ashamed of Falstaff? If so, why does he still continue to associate with him if he's trying to become a kingly figure. The most obvious put down is when Falstaff says "Hal, if thou see me down in the battle and bestride me, so; 'tis a point of friendship."Hal then responds: "Nothing but a colossus can do thee that friendship. Say thy prayers, and farewell." I thought this was so sad of Hal to say to what used to be one of his close friends. Why has Hal changed into a shallow friend?

5:33 PM  
Blogger Betsy H said...

Jimmy-

I agree with you, and really liked your analysis of Hal's cleverness in putting himself down to appear weak. I definitley agree with you, but what sparked this change? It seems like it happened very quickly--his change from immature misguided heir to acting completely like a noble king. What did he finally realize in his life? He must have seen there was more to life than getting drunk and stealing, but when did this happen? I understand that battle has probably sparked his interests in becoming a king, but hasn't there been other occasions that he could've stepped up, or is it just the intrigue of battle and blood?

5:49 PM  
Blogger Sarah E. said...

5. I think that we can now safely say that Hal has reached a turning point in his character. Although Shakespeare has toyed with us as readers throughout the play, highlighting moral victories for Hal; however, I think that this scene exemplifies the climax of not only the play but also Hal's character. He even states, “I may speak it to my shame, / I have a truant been to chivalry” showing his complete respect for Hotspur in battle. I think that Shakespeare is addressing a controversial hallmark of English society in which social status or moral character were predetermined. Rising in the ranks of society was unheard of in Shakespeare's days and I believe that this major turnaround of Hal's character demonstrates Shakespeare's criticisms regarding the "code". Shakespeare further proves his point in later illustrating the high praises Ha recieves as the new monarch.

6:03 PM  
Blogger Aly A. said...

5. It's hard to believe that this Prince Henry is the same man who was just stealing and lying and living a life of sin and deceit. I am amazed at how much he has changed, and in such a short time. War and responsibility has really sobered Hal up, so much that he won't even pay attention to an old friend. Falstaff, afraid of the looming battle, tells him "Hal, if thou see me down in the battle and bestride me, so; 'tis a point of friendship," but Hal responds "Nothing but a colossus can do thee that friendship. Say thy prayers, and farewell." Falstaff continues to express his fears, wishing that it "'twere bedtime, Hal, and all well," but Hal simply blows him off and offers a quick reply: "Why, thou owest God a death" (121-126). Even though I think Hal has definitely changed for the better in becoming more mature and responsible, I am disappointed in his impatience with Falstaff. Afterall, Falstaff was a father figure to him for so long and taught him so much, even if it was just lessons on how he shouldn't act. Flastaff deserves more respect or at least a little more attention from Hal because afterall he is helping Hal in the war and supporting his cause. A truely honorable man wouldn't just forget about their friends like that, no matter how vile they once were.

8:58 PM  
Blogger Megan M said...

4. One of the most striking parts about this scene for me was King Henry's opening statement: "How bloodily the sun begins to peer/Above yon busky hill. The day looks pale/At his distemp'rature" (lines 1-3). This quotation provides yet another example of sun/moon imagery throughout the play. In relation to Hal, the sun here represents the completion of his emergence from the clouds he constantly refers to; the turnaround in his character and priorities is complete. The sun barely peeking over the hill represents the beginning of Hal's time as true royalty: still early and not quite at full attention yet The bloodiness of the sun emphasizes the ongoing war as well as the numerous deaths that occur throughout this act. The day seeming "pale at [the sun's] distemp'rature" symbolizes both the strength of Hal's upcoming rule (causing the current rule to seem pale in comparison) and the weakening effect of the war on the nation, despite the king's victory.

9:11 PM  
Blogger julie s said...

5. It seems that everyone has picked up on Hal's transition in this scene, so I won't say much about it. After reading, "For my part, I may speak it to my shame, I have a truant been to chivalry," (lines 93-94), I picked up a serious tone in Hal's lines. He is done with just fooling around. The reality of his royalty has finally sunk in, and he realizes his duty. I'm quite impressed with Hal. I expected him to turn around eventually (especially considering there is a Henry V play, and so on), but I didn't expect his metamorphosis to be so upfront, and even a bit sudden.

Moving on to the character that surprised me more in this scene: Falstaff. His ending soliloquoy particularly caught my interest. Falstaff's early lines in this scene are very typical of him ("Rebellion lay in his way, and he found it," [line 27]), but his ending speach was missing his token humor, brashness, and vulgarity. He thoughts are intense and deep, "What is 'honor'? Air. A trim reckoning...Detraction will not suffer it. Therefore, I'll none of it. Honor is a mere scutcheon," (lines 134-139). He makes a profound point in describing honor as a "mere scutcheon," which translates to a mere gravestone. Honor is nothing worth dying for because it is nothing in the first place. He fears death, and he is especially not willing to do for honor as he would be expected to be as a knight (something that he is far from). I found his thoughts very interesting, and I agree with his character.

Could this solioquoy possibly be Shakespeare's own attitude about honor and war shining through?

9:35 PM  
Blogger Megan M said...

Aly A.~

I agree! Although Hal is so much more mature and responsible-seeming than before, he seems at the same time to have lost his fun, witty side that we love so much, and is completely disregarding Falstaff as a friend. He has made such a complete transition, he has not only stopped seeing Falstaff as a possible role-model father figure, but sees him as inferior and not worth his friendship. He hushes Falstaff's wit with, "Peace, chewet, peace" (29), and, "Nothing but a colossus can do thee that friendship./Say thy prayers, and farewell" (122-123); he is short and curt with his former friend, and I think this is a negative aspect to his otherwise positive turnaround. He's acting too high and mighty for my taste!

9:37 PM  
Blogger Kell-EH said...

4. I loved Falstaff's opinion of honour. He says, "What is honour? A word. What is in that word honour? What is that honour? Air...Who has it? He that died a' Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No. 'Tis insensible then? Yea, to the dead. But will't not live with the living? No... Therefore, honour is a mere scutcheon."

This is the defining difference between nobility and commoners. True, as Falstaff clearly represents, there is no worldly value in honour. True honour was attained through death, and that term was only used by those remembering the deceased. The capacity to appreciate the ideal of honour, to die for something that is worth nothing to the living, is noble. Honour is a higher level of thought. For the first time so far in this play, Hal, in sharp contrast to Falstaff, acts honourably and thus embraces his role as royalty.

For me, this quote just emphasized the difference between Hal and Falstaff and illustrated the reason their friendship was doomed.

10:50 PM  
Blogger Kell-EH said...

Jimmy,

I liked your point about the evolution of the prince’s character in this scene. When he recognizes that he has been truant to chivalry and offers to avoid war with a single fight between Hotspur and himself, he does seem to have finally turned into a noble man. However, I find it interesting that Shakespeare invented this offer of a duel, according to the Riverside Shakespeare. The action that defines his transition is fictional. It makes me wonder what truly changed the prince and why Shakespeare felt it was necessary to embellish upon the honourable actions of Hal.

7:29 AM  

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