Irrational Honor In William Shakespeare's Henry IV Part One

1735 Words7 Pages
Henry IV Part One is a play that explores the dreadful consequences and civil unrest that arose from Henry's usurpation of the legitimate King of England. To what extent do you agree. A major concern of "Henry IV Part One" is the question of rebellion against legitimate authority. The protagonist, Henry IV, has decisively broken with the traditional form of political authority; the common allegiance to a legitimate king. This allegiance derives the King's authority from his inheritance and the common knowledge that this is the way the political order in the country should be determined. Henry has substituted this for his own power and become king, not from any legitimate, traditional claim but simply because he has a military superiority over the legitimate king and the desire to get rid of Richard. The usurpation of Richard II leads to serious repercussions such as an uprising of Welsh supporters of the slain King against Henry IV. However, the play additionally investigates the theme of honor and the character development of Prince Hal. The following essay will detail how far "Henry IV Part One" is a play that explores the consequences and civil…show more content…
It is obvious when we first encounter Falstaff in the tavern that he totally rejects the standard actions of an honorable man. He is a thief and is not ashamed to admit it "Why, Hal, 'tis my vocation, Hal. 'Tis no sin For a man to labour in his vocation". Falstaff is consequently concerned with self-preservation and has difficulty understanding how others could place honor before their own lives; "Honour hath no skill in surgery then? No. What is honour? A word. What is that word honour? Air."His lack of honour is repeatedly stressed during the final act at battle of Shrewsbury. Another illustration of Falstaff's disregard for honor comes when
Open Document