The Forms of Honor in the First Part of ‘Henry IV’
A discussion of how various characters such as Hotspur, Prince Hal and Falstaff represent different manifestations of the concept of honor in Shakespeare’s ‘Henry VI’.
Honor, the central theme in Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, is embodied primarily in the two main characters. This essay compares and contrasts the concept of honor as lived by Hotspur and Prince Hall, making frequent use of quotes to substantiate claims. Other characters, King Henry and Falstaff, who Shakespeare finds useful in this major treatment of honor, are also discussed.
“One of the main themes around which Shakespeare dramatizes the history of his country in The First Part of King Henry IV is honor. To the Elizabethans honor was a major topic of debate as it had been to Englishmen of all ages. Honor is a complex subject, highly personal to some, highly public to others. Honor can be something for which one quietly stands, or about which one shouts in flowery language. The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast some of the various forms taken by honor as represented in Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part I.”