The Making of A Politician: Shakespeare's Prince Hal at Work and Play
This paper explores Prince Hal's relationships with his great friend Falstaff and his great enemy Hotspur, who dominate the young prince's life as he prepares to rule England and conquer France. Hotspur and Falstaff could not be more different, and seem deliberately drawn by Shakespeare to represent distinctive and opposing points of view: Hotspur is an honor-loving and courageous warrior who covets danger and fame, Falstaff a selfish and dishonorable rationalist who has no regard for danger or fame. I will argue that the lessons Hal learns from Hotspur and Falstaff, especially concerning honor, are the key to his stunning political success. While Hal seems to stand somewhere between these two extremes, and so might be characterized as moderately attached to honor, I will question this conclusion and suggest another.
Perspectives on Political Science