Literary Essays

The following are 1-5 page essays that analyze specific aspects of the text.

Essay on Falstaff: "A Lesson from Falstaff" by Elizabeth Kim
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Falstaff was once a glorious knight. However, he has left this glorious past behind. He has become fat, spends much of his time with younger ones, and often takes part in robbery for his pleasure. As a member of the Boar’s Head Tavern crew, he is frequently around other members of the crew including Peto, Bardolph, Poins
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, and the Hostess. He also has a close friendship with Prince Hal, though he is not part of the Boar’s Head Tavern crew. Once a respectable knight, he now joins his friends in mischievous deeds that are contrary to his past.

From observing the people who Falstaff spends his time with, it is ev
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ident that social class does not matter much to him. Because his crew consists of people who are of working class and his close friend Prince Hal is the heir to the throne, it becomes apparent that he is one of those people who will to talk to anybody, regardless of their social standing. He does not become intimidated by the prince’s high power, nor does he look down upon those who do not have a past as glamorous as his. Falstaff clearly is not one who will judge others on where they stand on the social ladder.

What makes Falstaff so likable to many people is his
fun-loving character. He cares not for things such as money, time, law, or other serious matters, but his life is centered on friends, fun times, and perhaps even ignorance. However, he is not one who many would look up to, for his care-free character is not practical for success in life. While his high spirits and frivolity are desirable for many of us, they show no responsibility, which diminishes the chances of a promising future.

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In conclusion, Falstaff is an irresponsible, yet sociable and pleasant character. Though many would not admire his lack of seriousness or his extreme fatness, his shining admirable life as a youth as well as his lax life now are desirable. He has ruined his
high, glamorous reputation as a former knight by turning into an obese slacker, but many of us can
Shenner and Henry William Bunbury - Falstaff Reproved by King Henry
Shenner and Henry William Bunbury - Falstaff Reproved by King Henry

Shenner and Henry William Bunbury - Falstaff Reproved by King Henry
learn from his super session of society’s normal behavior, how appreciating others for who they are regardless of their standing in society only makes us more sociable and respectable, in the fact that we have looked past their appearance to see them as a person, whether they are higher or lower than us. Also, he shows how having some fun is necessary, yet enjoying it too much can bring one’s reputation down. As a character who has turned from a highly regarded knight into a lazy but friendly and fun member of the Boar’s Head Tavern crew, Falstaff demonstrates several desirable qualities as well as some to avoid, which we can all learn from.

Changes of Power

Power has changed hands from one generation to the next for hundreds of years. Over the years, in places like England, and even in the United States the most powerful position in the entire country has been handed from a parent to a child. The Bushes are one example in the United States of power changing hands. George Bush, Sr was the President of the United States, and so was his son, George Bush, Jr. But there are numerous examples of power changing hands, besides presidency.

There are numerous ways in America, in which power changes hands. In sports, there has been numerous instances when head coaches have given their son the head coaching job, after they retired. In business, corporate executives, groom their sons and daughters for the day, they will take over the company and run the family business. In fact, this is commonplace in lots of work fields, and I would be shocked if it didn't continue to happen over time.

Their are benefits and their are things that can also hurt you in the long run when power changes hands. There are numerous advantages when power changes hands, some include the person who received the job knowing what to do from watching their elder statesmen. Other advantages include, the staff would still be familiar with you because you would know them because of being around your parents, the company could always stay in the family because you could hand it over to your kids; there are numerous possibilities.

There are also disadvantages. The 2nd generation could become complacent and let the company go to waste, because of thinking that nothing can ever happen to his/her position. The person could become to sure of themselves and think that they don't have to listen to their staff, the new person could have been given the job out of favoritism and not be able to do the work needed to complete the job in the first place.

If I was to pick a side, I would also change power between my family members. Nothing in the world is more important than family, and I think if you have a opportunity to put your family in a better situation, you should always do it; no matter what. Some may think it is wrong, but if it works out for the better, than everyone is happy. In the end, the people who work the hardest to get to the top, will help their family succeed the most.

Listen to Michelle Seo's essay.

The Prince then and The Prince Now- by Christian Vaughn

After reading the Henry IV, Part I play it was apparent throughout that Prince Hal would be a character that would create a lot of trouble. It is common knowledge that the company you keep can make or break you. Prince Hal’s closest associate in the play was Falstaff. Falstaff was an old man, who had nothing to live for. Falstaff was not the smartest guy in the world, and definitely wasn’t the most responsible. Falstaff was a heavy drinker and was also a thief, and of course his actions rubbed off on Hal.

Hal’s behavior throughout the beginning on the play was so disappointing that he had destroyed his dad’s hopes that one day Hal could be a good king. The king lectured Hal, and that is when the turning point came in Hal’s life. After that the prince started to mature and changed his actions. Falstaff didn’t have such a powerful influence over him, and he then started to live up to his duty to be Prince of Wales and become a good king. Hal’s process took time; he needed to mature and needed to be nurtured.

The current Prince of Wales essentially accepted his role of Prince since birth. You would be hard-pressed to find a negative thing said about Prince William, the son of the late Diana Spencer and Prince Charles. Although Prince William is second in line to the throne behind his father Charles, I felt it was more appropriate to compare him to Hal because of the closeness in age. William will one day be King and he has embraced his role.

William has never been accused of any wrongdoings, hanging with the wrong crowd, or disrespecting his father in any way. If I was a member of the British community I would be pleased to know that one day William will be the king. In the beginning of the play, you couldn’t say the same about Hal.

In conclusion, although Hal had his shortcomings in the beginning of the play, he eventually got his act together. This fact alone shows that maybe Hal could fight adversity and run a country to the best of his abilities. Although Prince William probably won’t be king for about two more decades, it is pretty safe to say that he will be ready for the crown once he receives it. And if William does happen to mess up, he has a little brother named Prince Harry, who could easily replace him.

Path to Kingship by Chris Wells

The power of might in Henry IV Part 1 by William Shakespeare and in The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White, plays an integral part in the main characters’ ascendancy to the throne. Both Prince Hal and Wart, respectively known as King Henry V and King Arthur, encounter might in the process of becoming king. However, they each employ might in a different manner.

In T. H. White’s novel a young page named Wart is tutored by a somewhat eccentric magician named Merlin. Unbeknownst to Wart, Merlin tutors him in the ways of becoming a good and noble ruler of his father’s domain. Merlin’s lessons consist of strange adventures in which Wart is turned into some sort of animal such as a fish or an ant or a badger in order to learn about human nature so that Wart can make decisions as a ruler with broader perspective. One of the most important lessons Merlin tries to show Wart is when Wart is turned into a fish and encounters The King of The Moat who is a large fish living in the moat around the castle, where Wart lives. During this meeting the King of The Moat says, “power of the body decides everything in the end, and only might makes right” (The Once and Future King, Book 1. Chapter 5). The purpose of this lesson is to teach Wart that “might makes right” is the sign of an unjust ruler much like The King of The Moat. After many other lessons very similar to this one Wart finds himself in London hunting for a sword for his knight, Kay, to use in a joust. After a while he happens across the sword in the stone. At first he walks up to it and attempts to draw it from the stone with physical might but he cannot do it. In his head he then hears the phrases of Merlin and of his animal tutors and is able to draw the sword from the stone without difficulty. By doing this he fulfills the prophecy written on the stone and secures his right as King of England. Wart managed to become king because of the teachings that give him an aversion to using might to achieve his goals.

The story of The Sword in The Stone is a very famous part of the legend of King Arthur and was no doubt told to Shakespeare at some point in his lifetime. While Shakespeare was probably spared the tales of animal teachers in the version he heard, his story’s character, Hal, has a converse relationship with might than did Wart. In his story, Prince Hal is the heir apparent to the King of England, his father, however, has enemies who are plotting to rebel and take the throne for themselves. Hotspur, the leader of the rebels, is attempting to bypass Hal’s right to the throne by using military might. The conflict of might and right is obvious but it’s not until later in the story that we see a somewhat ironic appearance of might and right again. At the very end of this story Hotspur and Hal meet on the battlefield in a clash of might and right. They battle each other until Hal manages to slay Hotspur. There is irony in this because Hal has just used might to assure his position, his right, to the throne the same way Hotspur was trying to use might to give himself the right to become king.

Just as Wart uses might and fails and instead uses knowledge and wisdom to become king by right. Hal on the other hand tries to rely on his right to the throne but it is challenged so he must resort to might to retain that right.

"Children’s View of the Reign of Henry IV" by Cynthia Pando

Children’s View of the Reign of Henry the Fourth

During Henry IV’s reign, the country was very muddled because each person had contrasting views and ideas on what was happening during this time. There were supporters of Richard II, Hotspur planning events against Henry, Hal getting out of control, and Owen Glendower organizing the rebels. “Richard II” by Eleanor and Herbert Farjeon has two distinct perspectives. The first stanza is in the perspective of every person in England being happy the Richard II was the king and that Bolingbroke was inferior. However, the second perspective is that Richard II should not be king and that he should give up his crown. All the “people are wailing Bad luck to King Richard / And mock at him trailing /His chains through the town” (Farjeon, “Richard II”).This not only proves that the people from the village hate Richard and they wish bad events on him. In this poem, the point of view is important because when one reads one point of view and one tends to stick to it even if there is strong evidence proving that that point is wrong.
On the other hand, Hotspur said some very strong accusations about the king to Blunt:

He deposed the King,
Soon after that deprived him of his life
And, in the neck of that, tasked the whole.
To make that worse, suffered his kinsman March …
In rage dismissed my father from the court,
Broke oath on oath, committed wrong on wrong,
And in conclusion drove us to seek out
This head of safety” (4:3: 97-100, 107-110).
Here Hotspur is accusing the king of not only getting rid of Richard II, but also making Richard’s life miserable. After that he taxed the country, he hurt people like March, dismissed Hotspur’s father, he broke all his promises, and the king drove them into being rebels and seeking him out for war. Hotspur is projecting everything to himself because he is very selfish. However, Worcester had something to say and he told the king:
“We were the first and dearest of your friends.
To meet you on the way and kiss your hand
That brought you home and boldly did outdare
The dangers of the time. You swore to us,
And you did swear that oath at Doncaster,
That you did nothing purpose ‘gainst the state,
And being fed by us, you used us so
By unkind usage, dangerous countenance,
And violation of all faith and troth” (5:1:34, 41-44,60, 70-71).
Here Worcester is claiming the king that they were his friends and that they were there to kiss his hand. However, the king took advantage of the people and he promised he would bring benefits to the country. He didn’t he taxed the country more than Richard II, which didn’t really help England. This is the reason that Worcester and all the rebels left the King. By making this group and preparing to fight the king they were going to fix what they thought was wrong. In the “Henry IV” poem, one can see that there are also two perspectives. The one is about questioning Henry IV about his reign and the second stanza is about his answers to the problems that his son, the rebels, and Richard supporters make. However, he answers by saying what he will do and this proves that he is a “strong,” “brave,” and proud man. He is showing that he can defeat all his problems and get what he needs. However, he also needs to prove that he is a worthy king since not many people like him. That is the reason that there can be “No more the thirsty entrance of this soil/ Shall daub her lips with her own children’s blood./No more shall trenching war channel her fields.”(1:1:5-7) Here King Henry IV wants to go to war to show his subjects how brave he is and to “protect “his subjects. This is very ironic because our previous president did the same thing to show America how strong he was. When we were attacked in September 11, 2001, President Bush had to make a decision to let that go or show the world and the U.S. that he was a strong leader. However, he did not want to only show he was a strong leader but also that he wouldn’t let the U.S. get pushed around so he started this war against Iraq since the terrorists came from there. The “Henry IV” poem also involves perspective because if the poem had only been made of questions the readers would have thought this king had nothing “under control.”
Finally, this poem shows that everyone during this time had a different point of view; everyone wanted a different king. It also proves that perspective of the poem can affect one’s idea of a certain person. If one were to say only bad things of a person, one would consider him/ her a horrible person and vice versa. That is why it is beneficial to get both sides of the story.

Just Another Essay: Perhaps. Reflect.
Samiat Okoya
Intro to Literary Survey
Mrs. Reid
February 23, 2010

Reynolds Wrap: Sunny Side Up
“By breaking through the foul and ugly mist,” Prince Hal aspires to imitate the sun and become the radiant light that transforms when reflected on a metal sheet (Henry IV part I 1.2.209). He is oblivious to the fact that he is his own foil, the one preventing him from becoming the luminous light the kingdom needs. Prince Hal believes with this golden plan of his he is sure to make a change that will “redeem time when men think least he will.” (Henry IV part I 1.2 223) However with this plan he his endangering the welfare of the kingdom; and these are actions and deeds that he is doing are enraging his father, the King. This is a dilemma and makes it much more difficult for the King to deal with problems the kingdom is facing. Prince Hal enjoyed life and has taken his power for granted; now he wants to justify his actions.
Prince Hal may not be the sole reason for the king’s anger and frustration; however he has played a huge role in affecting it. With the prince playing pranks on Falstaff and robbing nobles, he is proceeding in his grand master plan. Although doing these acts is meant to pay off in the end; Prince Hal could construct a better plan to become that radiant light without enraging his father. In fact the King is so frustrated with Hal’s behavior he even said “Of my young Harry. O, that it could be proved/ that some night-tripping fairy had exchanged/in cradle-clothes our children where they lay, / and have mine called “Percy”, his “Plantagenet”! Then would I have his Harry and he has mine” (Henry IV part I 1.1 85-89). With this said, the King displays dissatisfaction, frustration and anger with his son’s actions.
After speaking with his father, Prince Hal had convinced him to give him one more chance. With this, Prince Hal is expected to fight Hotspur’s army. The future of the Kingdom lies within his hands. Falstaff, an old fat drunk and retired knight is to lead their “exceedingly poor and bare, too beggarly” army (Henry IV part I 4.2 70). Prince Hal is fighting in a battle and he must prepare his men. Falstaff, the drunk, may not be the most fitting person for the job. It is understandable why he would delegate such a position to Falstaff. He was once quite an honorable knight; however he is not in the same condition he once was in. There must be others who would be able to complete this same job. Prince Hal is a smart whom receives his knowledge from a number of people. Ranging from the king, to Hotspurs and even Falstaff himself, the prince is gaining knowledge from a variety of places preparing him for whatever may head his way. However Hal must much knowledge to use and make more wise decisions, ones that will allow him a better chance at saving the kingdom and preserving the welfare at state. Is Falstaff really the best choice?
Prince Hal had planned on being that gleaming reflection that escaped from the sun’s rays hitting the brighter side of the Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil. Instead of being that reflection, or imitating the sun, he should be that power source that allows a kingdom to thrive and without him they shall be unable to survive. Prince Hal should strive to be that everlasting power source; the kind that can instill energy into others allow others to also shine for themselves.


Henry IV

Richard II


Prince Hal

President Bush