The Question:

What impact does family have during the different stages of our lives?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Like the Sun

Henry IV Part 1 is a superb example of redemption between family members. When it comes to disagreements within a family, we have all had our fair share. As much as we hope for peace at all times within our families, this never occurs. Hal and his father, Henry IV, are very distant in their relationship with each other. Hal is rebellious and runs with the wrong crowd. He is expected to act as an honorable young man who is capable of leading the country when he father passes it on to him. At the beginning of the play, Hal presents a soliloquy explaining how he imitates the sun. Hal says in Act 1 Scene 2,
“Yet herein will I imitate the sun,/Who doth permit the base contagious clouds/To smother up his beauty from the world,/That, when he please again to be himself,/Being wanted, he may be more wondered at/By breaking through the foul and ugly mists/Of vapors that did seem to strangle him.”
This passage really leads in to the rest of the play because of its foreshadowing and the pun Shakespeare uses. Hal says he will imitate the sun; I feel that this is a very interesting pun in the play as Hal is the son. He is the son of the king and should be shining like the sun, but he is hidden by clouds like the sun allows itself to be. It is important to note that Hal does not just say that clouds cover the sun, but that the sun allows the clouds to cover it. Hal’s clouds are the pub crawlers and he allows them to cover his glory and capabilities because he chooses to spend his time with them.
He goes on to say that “…when he please to be himself,/Being wanted…breaking through the foul and ugly mists…” This is later seen at the end of the play when Hal comes through and saves his father from Hotspur. Hotspur is the son Henry IV never had and Henry IV wishes that Hotspur were his son instead of Hal. This all changes at the end of the play though when Hal feels appreciated and demonstrates what he is capable of as a leader and that he really can shine like the sun. This act at the end of the play allows for the redemption between father and son illustrating how family impacts us in different ways at different times in our lives. Though a family is distant at one point, does not mean it will always be like that.