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Redemption In Shakespeares Henry IV the character Hal the Princeof Wales undergoes a transformation that can be characterized as a redemptionShakespeare introduces Hal in the opening act as a renegade of the CourtHis avoidance of all public responsibility and his affinity for the companyof the Boars Head Tavern have caused serious concern for the King becauseHal is heir to the throne The King realizes that to keep order a rulerand his heir must prove to be both responsible and honorable from the outsetHal possesses neither quality The King even testifies to his own advisorthat he would have rather traded Hal for Hotspur the son of the Earl ofNorthumberland In the Kings eyes Hotspur not Hal is the theme of honorstongue 11 80 because he has won his glory through his merits in warThus Shakespeare has set Hal and Hotspur in opposition Hal the prodigalprince versus Hotspur the proper prince Hal understands that he has beenbranded with the label truant to chivalry51 95 and as the heir tothe throne he realizes that it is imperative that he redeem himself notonly for himself but also for his father and his people because life willnot always be a holiday for If all the year were playing holidays Tosport would be as tedious as work 12 211-212 However Hal needs sometype of strength to make his realization come true Luckily Hals fatherthe King is willing to lend several comments that enrage him and providehim with the necssary motivation It also seems that Shakespeare has includedthe foil for Hal the valiant Hotspur in order to provide the callow Princeof Wales with another source of motivation from which Hal can begin constructinghis redemption In a plea to his father Hal vows that he will redeem histarnished identity at the expense of Hotspur saying I will redeem all ofthis on Percys head 32137 However the act of redemption does notonly occur as the result of realization and motivation Redemption needsfor these
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