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Representation - Henry IV

Advanced English HSC, 2018

Julie Bain

on 24 July 2018

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Transcript of Representation - Henry IV

Politics and the play
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 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.
Module C: Representation and Text
Elective 1: Representing People and Politics

Henry IV, Part I has an overt political message. Representations of the King Henry IV and his advisers and the world of the court
Representations of the world of the revelers in Eastcheap.
The role of Hal, the King's son. Representing both the court and Eastcheap.
Obsessiveness clouds political judgement
Obsessiveness with debauchery clouds Falstaff's ability to function politic manner
Ambition also subverts political actions
You need to look at both representations and mis-representations of people within the play

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.
SCENE IV. The Boar's-Head Tavern, Eastcheap.
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 relationships that exist within the play, our concept of politics, the historic context of the situations established in the play
what are the key relationships and how are they represented within the play?
what are some of the situations that exist within the play?
what are the key events that are represented within the play?
Shakespeare demonstrates the traits of each of Falstaff, Hotspur and Henry IV are representative of a successful political leader - (embodied in the character of Hal) - this is problematic and the crux of representation.
In what ways are characters in a play representations of people and how can you relate this to your other related text?
What, for you, represents politics in the construction of how a character might talk, their relationships and their class or social status, their political integrity?
What political power (or political subversion) is represented in your other related text?

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
Key terms: Politics
LEVELS with the concept of politics
Aristotle states that “the politician and lawgiver is wholly occupied with the city-state, and the constitution is a certain way of organizing those who inhabit the city state” (III.1.1274b36-8)
The King's role was intrinsically linked to the Great Chain of Being:

Therefore one can assume that King Henry has constitutional power. However, his Divine Right is questioned, and has '... therefore lost that title of respect' (I, iii, 9) because of the death or Richard II and how he came to the throne.

In the memory of the audience is the Rising of the North and Shakespeare is reminding the audience of the danger of the divisiveness of the actions of those subverting the Monarch
Competency of the King counts more than the legitimacy
He's supporting the role of Elizabeth as Queen
Composers can represent people and issues depending on their purpose and context.
You need to be clear about Shakespeare's purpose...
The King ought care for his people as he begins the whole play by attempting to put down those who rebel against the monarch
Shakespeare complicates this by developing derision of his adversity
Students will investigate and analyse Shakespeare’s use of sources and his approach to the history play genre.
Through close examination of the play’s performance history and a range of critical responses, students will consider different interpretations of the central characters and the historical and political messages of the text.
Students will consider the play’s representations of political circumstances and historical figures in relation to their historical late medieval counterparts, the play’s Elizabethancontext and subsequent eras
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