& the slipper still fits

henry iv part 1

Sorry for the delay lovelies! I've have an insane last couple of weeks and unfortunately, the computer usage has been at a minimum. If you've been waiting for this - I'm sorry!

Henry IV pt. 1 is tells (like Richard) more the rise of who will become Henry V. The man we'll know as Hal. Like his father, Hal walks among the people; unlike is his father, he takes to the bars and seedy areas of London to have fun and get drunk. Hal has a plan in this - one which he confides in the audience - to be a failure and a playboy, a good old friend to those who seem the most human of us, will only lead him to greater esteem when he rises to the occasion. Smartly, he understands that the rise of man with faults becomes a much greater legend than a good courtly prince who will be King.

Unfortunately, his cousin Hotspur (also named Henry) is everything the court wishes Hal would be, and King Henry IV even wishes Hotspur was his son more than Hal. In the play Hotspur angers the king (though Henry IV respects his actions) and is demanded to turn over the prisoners and loot he took in a battle. Refusing his uncle Hotspur, would rather go to war to protect what he considers his - and, you know, take the throne too if need be.

This conflict sets the stage for Hal's rise to glory and his chance to prove to his father he is the proper son. Which, SPOILERS!!! he does.

Because this is one of my absolutely favorite Shakespeare plays (seriously. I adore) I thought I'd highlight my favorite moments without getting too complicated or oh-so-lit-major on you.

Um...I'm not sure how this is still up, but just saying - you can find everything on youtube if you look hard enough. YOUTUBE LINK HERE

Henry IV's opening speech

Prince Hal is a party boy. He hangs out with drunks in bars and brothels; the stories of his mis-adventures are numerous and have many gory details and as a prince, well, he kinda sucks. Sure the "low-lifes" of London love him, but if the court isn't loyal, not much else will matter. Hotspur is Hal's cousin and he's the golden boy- he's everything Henry wishes his son was. In this opening speech Henry tells his closest advisers so, and we realize there is absolutely no love loss between this father and son. Henry refers to his son as a changling boy, a fairy who was traded with his real son when he was just born.

Hal's speach

Falstaff is hands-down one of Shakespeare's best characters. He's a brilliant man in the disguise of a fool. He's all of London embodied in one man asking the future king what kind of king he will be. (If you parallel this play against the angst going on in Elizabethan Court, you love it even more.) Much of Falstaff's lines return to one question for Hal, "Will there be gallows when you are king?" Hal repeats that there will be, but Falstaff will be the executioner. Ultimately Hal is stating while there will be law, but London/England will be his judge and jury. Just like his father, Hal is a brilliant mind. He tells us so in his soliloquy - the rise of a king is much better from ashes than from a gilded cage. This speech is beautiful and Tom's inflection during the voice-over is just stunning.      

Roles reversed

Hal's last night before war ends in a small play. Hal playing his father and Falstaff playing Hal. Here we not only get to see Tom play the pants off pretending to be Jeremy Irons, but we see Hal draw a clear line in the sand between Falstaff and himself. I think the scene speaks for itself. You know this is Hal's goodbye not just to Falstaff. We see Hal cut his own image to shreds and realize he knows exactly what kind of man he's portrayed to everyone - a fact he now chooses to change. (Sidenote: total girl sidenote - do you see those hands??? OMG ladies, let us take a moment to appreciate those hands.)

A Complimentary Hal

At the battle (this is not THE hollow crown battle btw, that happens later), Hal overshadows Hotspur - willing to fight with courage against him in single combat to save the lives of thousands of soldiers. This should be a reasonable parlay. Hotspur, had he ever heard the offer, most likely would have agreed. But Hotspur's envoys never tell him of the offer and so battle wages forward. This speech by Hal and the offer of his sacrifice for all solidifies the people's loyalty for him and his father's respect.

The battle ends with Hal's victory. Although Falstaff tries to take it for himself. And Hal allows him to take the glory this one last time. Symbolically, Hal is allowing England to rule the victory, to take all the glory and pomp. It shows that Hal will be a king not out for his own glory, but the glory of England. Can you tell I LOVE this play?!

Next up, is part 2 of Henry IV, where we crown a new king, have another battle, and see some parts of Falstaff you can't burn out of your eyes.