Theme Of Deception In Henry IV

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In William Shakespeare's play 1 Henry IV, deception is a recurring theme. Main characters Hotspur, Prince Hal, and King Henry IV deceived people to benefit themselves. Were Henry IV, Hotspur and Prince Hal deceiving their subordinates to gain power or were their choices and actions political strategy geared toward gaining honor and maintaining the well-being of the nation? Hal, Hotspur and King Henry all deceive people to gain power which can be seen as an act of malice and disloyalty but also as a political strategy. Hotspur deceives King Henry into thinking he is on his side while he is secretly planning a rebellion, King Henry deceives King Richard by thinking that he is on his side while also secretly planning a rebellion and Prince Hal…show more content…
Nonetheless, this rebellion’s motive seems to be a bit different than the motive behind King Henry’s rebellion, Hotspur might think he is a fit King to rule this kingdom, but he seems to be more driven by the idea of power and vengeance. We see Hotspur's thirst for revenge twice throughout the play, once when Hotspur and his family are first beginning to plan the rebellion, “revenge the jeering and disdain’d contempt Of this proud King,” (Henry 1.3.182-183) and again in a speech he gives after he is offered a peace treaty by the King which he says he will think about but goes on to say that the King has broken a promise to his father and his family. This shows that Hotspur is using deception and really planning this rebellion as a form of revenge or a way to get power rather than using deception in order to greater the nation. In doing this, however, Hotspur also brings up the strict laws that King Henry added to the nation which could also mean that Hotspur does have the best interest of the nation in mind, by trying to rid the people of a dishonest ruler. However, Hotspur’s violent, power-hungry, and domineering nature imply he is after the throne to gain more honor and boost his ego. These flawed characteristics are apparent in the way he treats his wife, “Away! Away, you trifler. Love, I love thee not. I care not for thee, Kate.” (Henry 2.3.82-84) This shows how Hotspur is obsessed with the idea of power and control and will go off on his innocent, neglected wife who only wants love from her husband. All of these things show that it wasn’t just the King’s strict laws that made Hotspur want to overthrow him but was it was more for personal reasons he had against the King. Also throughout, the audience is able to pick up on the notion that Hotspur has an obsession with gaining and maintaining honor. As Hotspur is about to face his inevitable death, his last words are “I better brook the loss of
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