Heroism In Henry The IV

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A Heroic Man With his last breath he died in the eyes of his soldiers a hero; however, heroism in Henry the IV Part 1 has many different interpretations. Shakespeare portrays heroism from multiple perspectives in order to demonstrate the different perceptions of heroism based on an individual’s morals and values. Shakespeare also explores the evolution of heroism, from that of a successful warrior, to an individual that is willing to put the needs of others before their own. Shakespeare intertwines honour and heroism into the theme of the play and we must consider both when determining the heroic value of each character. Hotspur is seen honourably through the eyes of King Henry the IV. The King’s speech to the people of his court provides a clear understanding of how Hotspur is seen as an honourable and heroic man. The King proclaims his jealousy of Lord Northumberland for having Hotspur as an honourable son, “Yea, there thou mak’st me sad and mak’st me sin / In envy that my Lord Northumberland…” (1.1.77-78). The King sees Hotspur as a man of honour and a person respected by others, “A son who is the theme of honour's tongue” (1.1.80), while he views his own son as a disappointment, “See riot and dishonour stain the brow / Of my young Harry”…show more content…
This is where we see others acknowledge the image of the hero that Hotspur has strived to achieve his entire life. Prince Hal praises Hotspur’s life after death, “…This earth, that bears thee dead/Bears not alive so stout a gentleman" (5.4.91-92). Hotspur is accepting of his fate, making him admired by his peers and seen as a true hero. Even as he dies Hotspur’s concern is not that of death itself, but of honour when he speaks his last words to Prince Henry, “…I better brook the loss of brittle life / Than those proud titles thou hast won me. / They wound my thoughts worse than thy sword my flesh.”
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