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Word Count: 1,572
Henry IVs lecture to Hal in 32 provides the audience with much more than an example of Henrys relationship with his son It also serves as an examination of the kingship and its changing role Henrys attempts to criticize Hal inadvertently draw many parallels between him his son and his predecessor Richard II and while he intends to reveal Hals shortcomings he primarily reveals his own He begins by criticizing Hals choice of associates namely the rogues who inhabit the tavern He claims that if he had been close friends with such people Richard would still be King of England In fact he blames Richards poor choices of advisors for his downfall By flattering Richard for their own ends instead of letting him know the true state of affairs in England they kept him oblivious to the growing dissatisfaction of the populace With shallow jesters and rash bavin wits Soon kindled and soon burnt carded his state Mingled his royalty with capring fools Had his great name profanShd with their scorns And gave his countenance against his name To laugh at gibing boys and stand the push Of every beardless vain comparative 3261-67 While Falstaff and his companions may be vulgar company 3241 however they are in fact exactly the type of company with which Henry was associated by Richard who greatly feared Henrys courtship to the common people Richard II 1424 Rather than avoiding people like Falstaff he sought them out and won their hearts This disparity serves to undermine Henrys argument that Hal should separate himself from the common people as much as possible The contradiction between Henrys elevation to the throne by public opinion and his suggestion that Hal avoid becoming involved with the lower classes can be interpreted in a number of ways One cynical view might claim that Henry subconsciously fears his son becoming popular enough with the people to be able to overthrow his own father but this
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