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A STEP BEYOND
TESTS AND ANSWERS
_____ 1. Shakespeare's principal source for this play was
B. Holinshed's Chronicles
C. Belleforest's Histoires Tragiques
B. to turn his throne over to the Prince of Wales
C. to undertake an expedition to the Holy Land
B. ransom of Edmund Mortimer
C. the surrender of Owen Glendower
B. wishes that his own son were as brave
C. awards him the title of Earl of Northumberland
II. a purple-headed malt worm
III. a fat-kidneyed rascal
B. I and III
C. II and III only
B. the Earl of Worcester
C. Edmund Mortimer
B. "He lards the earth as he walks along"
C. "I have seen daintier elephants"
B. Prince Hal to Falstaff
C. Falstaff to Mistress Quickly
III. huge hill of flesh
B. II and III only
C. I, II, and III
B. Mermaid Tavern on the Bankside
C. Garter Inn in Windsor
11. What role does honor play in Henry IV, Part 1?
12. What is the relationship between the worlds of the court and the tavern in the play?
13. How does Shakespeare guide your feelings about the rebels?
14. Trace one of the major imagery patterns (counterfeiting, disorder, or horsemanship) through the play.
15. Discuss the education of Prince Hal.
_____ 1. The best praise for Falstaff comes from
B. Falstaff- when he plays the role of King Henry
C. Poins and Gadshill- when they toast their drinking partner
B. the end of an act
C. a line of iambic tetrameter
B. demanding that King Henry surrender
C. challenging the royal army at Shrewsbury
B. swears to be worthy of his name
C. offers to meet Owen Glendower in single combat
C. Archibald, Earl of Douglas
B. desertion of 3000 soldiers
C. absence of Northumberland and Glendower
B. offering a full pardon to the rebels if they disperse
C. offering to redress the rebels' grievances expeditiously
B. Hotspur's arrogance
C. Douglas' duplicity
II. kills Hotspur
III. saves his father's life
B. II and III only
C. I and III only
B. King Henry to Lord Douglas
C. Hal to the cowardly Falstaff
11. Discuss how Hotspur and Falstaff serve as models for Prince Hal.
12. What is the relationship between King Henry and Falstaff?
13. Compare the various speeches on Henry's usurpation of the crown.
14. Discuss the motives for the Percy rebellion.
11. Honor is one of the most frequently occurring words in the play. Focus on three characters- most likely Hotspur, Falstaff, and Prince Hal- and discuss what honor means to each. Pay particular attention to: Hotspur's reactions in Act I, Scene iii, and throughout Act IV; to Falstaff's speeches on honor in Act V; and to Prince Hal's discussion of the drawers in Act II, Scene iv and his promises to King Henry in Act III, Scene ii. Then you could focus on the battle of Shrewsbury, where the honor of all three characters is tested. Explain how this is done, and what you learn about the characters as a result. Talk about how the pursuit or avoidance of honor guides the characters' action. In your summing up, discuss the relationship between kingship and honor, and between politics and honor. How does Shakespeare's exploration of the many definitions of honor affect your interpretation of the plot?
12. Start by describing each world separately. Who lives in the court, and who in the tavern? Talk about the fact that only Prince Hal lives in both, and why. What are the characters' professions and interests? How do they talk?
Then discuss the relationship between court and tavern. What is common to both worlds? (How are rebellion and robbery related in the play?)
What is different about the two worlds? Talk about Shakespeare's episodic structure and its series of contrasts and comparisons. Look at the sequence of scenes, and their nature or character. Find images common to both worlds, like crowns, stealing, and counterfeiting. Discuss how the imagery relates the two worlds. How are the common themes of rebellion, education, and authority applied to the situations in each world?
13. First identify the Percies as King Henry's former allies. Describe their different versions of Henry's rise to power (look at the speeches of Hotspur and Worcester on the subject). What reasons do they give for the rebellion, and how are you meant to feel about these reasons? Then look briefly at each member of the family. What kind of role does Northumberland, for instance, play in the conspiracy? What about Worcester?
List the Percies' allies, and explain why they were chosen to join the conspiracy.
As soon as the conspiracy is formed, it begins to fall apart. Describe how Shakespeare makes you feel uneasy about the nature of the conspirators, and especially as the battle nears. Look at Hotspur's reaction to the unnamed lord's letter in Act II, Scene iii; the scene in Glendower's castle, where the rebels divide up England and quarrel among themselves; and the scene where only Hotspur, Worcester, and Douglas show up at Shrewsbury. Why do the other rebels (Northumberland, Glendower, and Mortimer) refuse to come? Do you think they ever really intended to show up?
Look at Worcester's reaction to King Henry's offer for peace. Why does Worcester refuse to tell Hotspur about it? What effect does his secrecy have on the outcome of the play?
After the battle, Worcester and Vernon are executed, Hotspur is dead, and Douglas is allowed to go free. Has justice been served? Are the rebels treated fairly by the king? by Hal?
14. Counterfeiting: Define the meaning of counterfeiting, first as minting a false currency and then as acting a role instead of being the person you really are. What is the relationship between Henry's usurped crown (a counterfeit kingship) and the stolen crowns of the thieves?
There are many variations of the image of counterfeiting in the play. Counterfeit crowns, for example, appear as the usurped crown, as stolen crowns; false kings, theatrical kings, imaginary armies, disguised armies. Cracked crowns are also broken heads (in the inn-yard scene of Act II, Scene i). Falstaff counterfeits death at Shrewsbury.
Finally, discuss how the nature of counterfeiting is a theme of the play.
Disorder: Traditionally the images of disease and disorder in the play have been seen as a moral commentary on the state of the kingdom. But you may also chose to see these images as descriptions of the natural condition of man in society, particularly in a monarchy where the nobles feud for power.
Disorder takes the form of broken promises (King Henry), civil war (both in Act I, Scene i and at Shrewsbury), the life in the tavern (pay particular attention to Falstaff's attempts to turn Prince Hal into a king), in a son's disobedience to his father (both Hal and Hotspur), and in the emblems of anarchy discussed in the inn-yard scene.
Disease images also fill the play. Falstaff is obese (describe him at Gad's Hill); Northumberland's illness breeds sickness in the rebels' army; King Henry is nervous and anxious; and before the battle at Shrewsbury, the sun and wind play havoc, reflecting the disease in men who rebel against the state.
Horsemanship: One theme of the play is chivalry- knights in armor fighting on horseback. Hotspur loves riding, but Falstaff is forced to walk, both at Gad's Hill and at Shrewsbury. Prince Hal appears riding to Shrewsbury like a young god of war. Discuss how these three characters' attitudes toward horses and riding reflect their personalities and moral positions in the play.
Horses are also a symbol of vitality. Their presence in this play is one way Shakespeare describes the energy unleashed by the various civil disorders. Although horses can't be brought on stage, describe how Shakespeare makes you hear their hooves pounding (the messengers arriving and departing throughout, armies approaching) through the kingdom. Discuss how the racing and charging of horses described in the imagery creates an impression of haste, and of how time is compressed dramatically through this device.
15. Set up your answer by describing what Hal is like at the beginning of the play, and then what he has proven himself to be by the end. Talk about the tavern world and what he learns there; then talk about the battle of Shrewsbury and what Hal learns there. What leadership qualities has Hal inherited from his father? What other qualities does he acquire and how might they make him a better king than Henry? Conclude your answer by defining a good leader (as you think Shakespeare defines it) and then discuss how Hal does and does not fit that definition by the end of the play.
11. You can begin your discussion with a description of the theme of "the education of a prince." What is Prince Hal's task in the play? Why is it important to the plot? Look at his conversations with Falstaff, at his soliloquy in Act I, scene ii, and at his description of Hotspur in Act II, scene iv.
Demonstrate how Shakespeare educates Prince Hal by comparing him with Hotspur or contrasting him to Falstaff. For this you will first have to list both Hotspur's and Falstaff's chief traits. How do they feel about honor, loyalty, war, justice, and honesty? What are their qualifications for leadership?
Discuss how Hotspur and Falstaff share some personality traits and contrast vividly in others. How do these features compare with Prince Hal's personality? Does the prince share any of them?
Hotspur and Falstaff represent opposite extremes in the code and conduct of life. You can argue that Prince Hal finds a balance between these two extremes or that he picks and chooses among these attitudes, guided by circumstances.
Finally, explain why Prince Hal acts the way he does. Discuss his personality and his motivations. Do his encounters with Hotspur and Falstaff help or hinder his education in kingship?
12. Begin with a discussion of the nature of authority in the play. Talk about the idea of kingship, and about the relationship between fathers and sons.
Then describe King Henry's character. Talk about his moral position as a usurper and a crowned king. Next describe Falstaff's basic characteristics and discuss his profession as a thief and his function as "king of the tavern." How does this mirroring relationship between these two characters make you feel about each of them?
You could concentrate your discussion by comparing: Henry's yearning to go on a crusade and Falstaff's role as "Monsieur Remorse"; the tavern interview and the court interview with Prince Hal; the robbery of the crown from Richard and the robbery of crowns at Gad's Hill; or the armies of counterfeit kings in the tavern and at Shrewsbury.
13. First, sum up the historical events that led Henry to power, as objectively as you can. Then discuss, in the order they appear in the play, each of the various versions you are told of this story. What is included and what is left out? What does this tell you about the character who is speaking and the situation he's in? For example, Henry conveniently forgets about the debts he owes to the Percies because he needs to justify his usurpation to himself. Hotspur sees Henry as a vile politician who murdered Richard, the "sweet, lovely rose," because Hotspur idealizes the past. Worcester says Henry could not help becoming king because he wants to play down Henry's abilities and emphasize the Percies' role.
In your final paragraph discuss what the effect of these different versions of history is. How do they make the audience feel at each point? How do they relate to the themes of the play?
14. Discuss briefly why each of these allies joined the rebellion. For example, begin with the Percies themselves. Worcester and Northumberland fear that Henry is plotting to murder them for their part in the conspiracy to depose Richard II, and they want a bigger share of his power. They plot to give Hotspur three reasons to fight Henry: they create a situation in which the king is forced to insult Hotspur's sense of personal honor with the Scottish prisoners; they give Hotspur a legal claimant to Richard's throne to champion (Mortimer); and they remind Hotspur that their family honor has been badly tarnished for their part in the deposition of Richard. Hotspur, decides to rebel in order to redeem his honor.
Discuss Glendower, Mortimer, York, and Douglas: What do they hope to gain from the rebellion?
Finally, discuss how this rebellion affects England. Is Henry to blame because he created the political conditions for it to ripen in? How does the rebellion express Shakespeare's view of history? Is the Percies' rebellion just one part of the natural chaos that results from deposing a rightful king? How does the rebellion connect to the other themes of the play- leadership, counterfeiting, fathers and sons?
TERM PAPER IDEAS
GLOSSARY OF CHARACTERS
© Copyright 1984 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.