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Word Count: 3,834
Then you perceive the body of our kingdom How foul it is what rank diseases grow And with what danger near the heart of it These lines spoken by King Henry IV symptomize the uneasiness that pervades this play In fact the play opens with the entrance of Rumor a role expanded in this production who promises to bring smooth comforts false worse than true wrongs thus leading us into one of the essential themes of this play - betrayal - which manifests itself in two major incidents first the rebels are promised that their grievances will be redressed but once they sue for peace Prince John executes them as rebels second at the end of the play Falstaff is summarily dismissed from Hals presence as the young prince assumes his fathers throne Framed by these two betrayals are a host of expectations mocked which began in King Henry IV Part One when Hal against all expectations defeated Hotspur The language is filled with imagery that confirms the contrariness of the times Hopes like ships touch ground and dash themselves to pieces while in poison there is physic Even th e comic moments find this theme pervading them - Mistress Quickly expects Falstaff to marry her and is soon disabused of that notion But from within this vortex of deception and dashed hopes Shakespeare continues the master plan begun in King Henry IV Part One - the making of a king At the end of Part One Hal seemed to have made the transition from profligate prince to mature heir apparent yet in another instance of expectations mocked he now appears to have shunned the orderly Apollonian world of his fathers court for the Dionysian revels of Falstaffs libertine domain There are two main reasons why Hal now Prince Harry finds the transition difficult to navigate He intuitively understands what his father has discovered that under the heavy burden of kingly responsibilities uneasy
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