Prince Henry's Speech Analysis

705 Words3 Pages
Throughout William Shakespeare’s 1597 History “The First Part of King Henry the Fourth”, the importance of individual reputation proves to be a catalyst for character advancement and plot development alike. King Henry’s repeated emphasis on the superior characteristics of himself and Hotspur earlier in the scene establish a dichotomy between the ideal leader and Prince Henry. In a rebuttal to his father 's disapproving tone, Hal vows to reclaim both his honor as a prince and his honor as a son. Shakespeare’s use of language through lines 129-159 in act III.2 foreshadows events to come while reinforcing Prince Henry’s earlier assertion that he will be the victor when battling Hotspur. During this point in the play, Prince Henry’s reputation…show more content…
In addition to showing the serious side of Prince Henry, the speech foreshadows events to come while referencing Hal’s previous commitment to his ‘reformation’. Prince Henry’s vow to kill Percy predicts Hal’s victory over Hotspur and restoration of honor, which take place in V.4. The outcome of the play mirror Hal’s dramatic speech, as his honor was restored and Hotspur was killed. However, Hal’s speech in III.2 was presupposed by his monologue in the end of act I.2, where Hal states “And, like bright metal on a sullen ground, / My reformation, glitt’ring o’er my fault, / Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes, / Than that which hath no foil to set it off” (Shakespeare, 1.2. 205-207). Prince Henry’s monologue in II.2 is linked to his speech in III.2, as Hal’s decision to “offend to make offense a skill” (1.2, 209), is necessary for his vow in III.2 to kill Hotspur in order to regain his lost honor. This promise is critical, as it foreshadows Prince Henry’s victory over Hotspur. Prince Henry’s speech in III.2 come at an essential part of the play. With his commitment to defeat Hotspur to regain his fallen favor, Hal’s speech solidifies the impending conflict, while definitively establishing himself as Hotspur’s
Open Document