Hal, Lay off the Booze and Debauchery–You’re Embarrassing the Fam

At the closing of act 1, scene 2, the reader finds out that Prince Harry’s poor, drunken behavior is not genuine. Additionally, his unsatisfactory companions—the degenerate friends he partakes in the robbery with—are also not authentic relationships Before Harry’s speech of deception at the end of 1.2, one would find this hard to believe. Harry is hanging out in the lowly taverns of London with an unsavory cast and, as Falstaff claims, “has called her to a reckoning many a time and oft” (1.2.44-45). Falstaff is claiming that Harry has paid for sex countless times. Now, is this any behavior for a Prince, especially one in line to be the next king of England?

No, you don’t think so? Neither does Harry. At the end of 1.2, the reader finds out that the upcoming robbery, the drinking, and the all-around bad behavior is all an act. Harry states he has been covering himself, the sun, with “contagious clouds” in order to “smother up his beauty from the world, that when he please again to be himself, being wanted he may be more wondered at by breaking through the foul and ugly mists (1.3.176-180).

Brilliant, Harry, absolutely brilliant! So, instead of helping your father break up the skirmishes on both battle fronts, you’re drinking wine and robbing coins from unknowing merchants? Your father will not see you as “bright metal on a sullen ground,” when he killed by Hotspur & Co. and the throne is completely stripped from you!

Harry’s plan is completely half-baked and mirrors the hazy ideas of drunkard. When referencing his song, King Henry states, “Of my young Harry. O, that it could be proved that some night-tripping fairy had exchanged and called mine Percy, his Plantagenet” (1.1.86-87). King Henry goes as far as to say Hotspur and Harry were switched at birth by a fairy that stole beautiful children and left bad or malformed ones in their place. Now, that sounds like a father who wants nothing to do with his biological son.   Harry is in a considerable hole, and it will take a lot for him to be redeemed. I personally do not understand why Harry would go to all this trouble in the first place, especially since he would have been looked at favorably if he was on the frontlines fighting the Scots and making a name for himself. Moreover, if he’s been making such a fool of himself, what gives him the idea that he will even get a shot at redemption?  Personally, I believe Harry has realized the faults of his actions, and feels guilty/remorseful; in turn, he cooked this plot of riches-to rags-to riches, which I do not think will go as planned. I’m looking forward to seeing his return to the court.


2 thoughts on “Hal, Lay off the Booze and Debauchery–You’re Embarrassing the Fam

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Day of Reckoning My Writer's Cramp

  2. deabarbieri

    Wow, great title. You are definitely right in your assessment of Hal; he’s a drunk who is embarrassing his royal family. Even though it is supposedly all apart of a larger scheme (which I agree might not go as smoothly as he hopes) it will be difficult to redeem himself from the life he’s led thus far. I’m not sure if his remorse stems from realizing he’s dug himself in too deep or if he is genuinely sorry for how he’s embarrassed his family and will have to leave his “friends” behind once he begins participating in his royal duties.


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