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Lesson 1 - The Political & Personal - Henry IV

Advanced English HSC, 2012
by

Julie Bain

on 22 July 2015

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Transcript of Lesson 1 - The Political & Personal - Henry IV

OVERVIEW
THE PLAYWRIGHT
William Shakespeare arrived in London around 1588
Robert Greene, a London playwright, in 1592 commented about Shakespeare that he was: "...an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers, ...with his Tiger's heart wrapped in a player's hide..."
By 1594, he was acting and writing for the Lord Chamberlain's Men (called the King's Men after the ascension of James I in 1603)
Patronized by royalty and made popular by the theatre-going public.
The Globe Theatre catered for up to 3000 people
Plays were performed in the summer months and transferred to the indoor playhouses during the winter
Elizabethan theatres were also used for bear baiting
Built in 1597-8
Music was an extra effect added in the 1600's. Colour coding was used to advertise the type of play to be performed - a black flag meant a tragedy, white a comedy and red a history – Henry IV is a history play
Female characters had to be played by young boys and many of the boy actors died of poisoning due to lead in their make-up
THE THEATRE
THE PERFORMANCE AREA
The drama was conventional, not realistic
Conventions included asides, soliloquies, the convention of "eavesdropping" (many characters overhear others, which the audience is privy to but the overheard characters are not - dramatic irony)
Exits were strong, and when everyone departed the stage, a change of scene was indicated.
Relatively little scenery.
The elaborate costumes supplied the color and pageantry.
Very quick transitions between scenes
THE PLAY
The play mixes history and comedy as it moves between majestic scenes involving kings and battles to base scenes focused on life in pubs with characters drinking and engaging in robberies.
The ambiguity of history and political motivations are captured in characters of Hal and Falstaff.
Introduction to Module C: Representation and Text
Elective 1: Representing People and Politics

THE PERSONAL AND THE POLITICAL
Henry IV, Part I has an overt political message. Two worlds collide: King Henry IV and his advisers vs the world of thieving revelers in Eastcheap.
Bridging the gap between the two is Hal, the King's son. He has a friend Falstaff and spends time with other commoners at the Boar's Head Tavern. (He is politically motivated to develop these friendships).
King Henry gained the throne illegitimately. His ability to rule is diminished because he took the throne rather than being anointed as king - a Divine Right.
Henry IV, Part 1, is one of Shakespeare’s history plays. It forms the second part of a tetralogy and deals with the historical rise of the English royal House of Lancaster. It was probably composed in the years 1596–1597.
Scene II. London. An apartment of the Prince's.
Enter Prince of Wales and Sir John Falstaff.
Falstaff: Now, Hal, what time of day is it, lad? Prince: Thou art so fat-witted with drinking of old sack, and unbuttoning thee after supper, and sleeping upon benches after noon, that thou hast forgotten to demand that truly which thou wouldest truly know. What a devil hast thou to do with the time of the day, Unless hours were cups of sack, and minutes capons, and clocks the tongues of bawds, and dials the signs of leaping houses, and the blessed sun himself a fair hot wench in flame-coloured taffeta, I see no reason why thou shouldst be so superfluous to demand the time of the day.
explore and evaluate various representations of people and politics in your prescribed text and other related texts of their own choosing.
consider the ways in which texts represent individual, shared or competing political perspectives, ideas, events or situations
analyse representations of people’s political motivations and actions, as well as the impact political acts may have on individual lives or society more broadly.
develop your understanding of how the relationship between various textual forms, media of production and language choices influence and shapes meaning.
THE RUBRIC
SCENE IV. The Boar's-Head Tavern, Eastcheap.
Hal:
I shall command all the good lads in Eastcheap.
What is a representation?
Representation is the use of signs, characters and concepts that organise the world within a text. These representations also inform our understanding of our world.
a definition of representation relies on a relationship between an object and something that it stands for
it (the object or symbol) must be intentionally used as a representation
it can be recognised as standing for the object by someone other than the person (or persons) who intends that it be representation of the object.
In what ways are characters in a play representations of people?
What, for you, represents politics in the construction of how a character might talk, their relationships and their class or social status?

The first of three monarchs from the house of Lancaster, Henry usurped the crown and successfully consolidated his power despite repeated uprisings.
King Henry IV by William Shakespeare is a drama text within the “Representation and Text” Module C(Elective 1:Representing People and politics) in the 2015
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