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Redemption In Shakespeares Henry IV the character Hal the Prince of Wales undergoes a transformation that can be characterized as a redemption Shakespeare introduces Hal in the opening act as a renegade of the Court His avoidance of all public responsibility and his affinity for the company of the Boars Head Tavern have caused serious concern for the King because Hal is heir to the throne The King realizes that to keep order a ruler and his heir must prove to be both responsible and honorable from the outset Hal possesses neither quality The King even testifies to his own advisor that he would have rather traded Hal for Hotspur the son of the Earl of Northumberland In the Kings eyes Hotspur not Hal is the theme of honors tongue 11 80 because he has won his glory through his merits in war Thus Shakespeare has set Hal and Hotspur in opposition Hal the prodigal prince versus Hotspur the proper prince Hal understands that he has been branded with the label truant to chivalry51 95 and as the heir to the throne he realizes that it is imperative that he redeem himself not only for himself but also for his father and his people because life will not always be a holiday for If all the year were playing holidays To sport would be as tedious as work 12 211-212 However Hal needs some type of strength to make his realization come true Luckily Hals father the King is willing to lend several comments that enrage him and provide him with the necssary motivation It also seems that Shakespeare has included the foil for Hal the valiant Hotspur in order to provide the callow Prince of Wales with another source of motivation from which Hal can begin constructing his redemption In a plea to his father Hal vows that he will redeem his tarnished identity at the expense of Hotspur
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