Friday, December 10, 2010

A tale of Foils and Identity - KHIV

Identities are fought for within Henry IV. Hotspur and Hal represent foils to contrast the identity of a true prince. So the question becomes what is the identity of good prince? In the beginning the reader debates internally about whether Hotspur – the victorious one, or Hal – the slacker is more admirable.  As the story progresses we learn that Hal has been guided by a hidden motive to be seen as the “light (son/sun) in the darkness” and this is what has determined his identity. Hal and Hotspur constantly are fighting internally and externally with each other for right to the throne. In the end Hal becomes superior revealing his true identity that has been hidden throughout the book. This explains that people can keep their identities hidden and even when one identity seems to be the better of the two, you cannot judge a book by its cover.

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