Friday, September 01, 2006

King Henry IV, Part 1 -- Act 1, Scene 1 Reading Blog

When you have finished reading Act I of King Henry IV, Part 1, please post a reading blog for each of the scenes other than the one your acting troupe is performing. Please comment only on Scene 1 of Act 1 on this post. Be sure to label the entry number that you have selected.

Later, come back to the blog and comment on at least one of your classmates' comments. Be sure to indicate which specific comment you're responding to (the person's name), and comment on the appropriate scene's post.

Please complete all three of your comments before we move on to the next act of the play (in this case, before Tuesday, September 12, 2006)


Blogger Justin L said...

Act 1 Scene 1:

After reading Scene 1 from Act 1, I found that I had a few questions regarding some of the action found within the scene. I did not understand the purpose of their talk of a religious crusade to Jerusalem, since the major crusades had ended about a century before Henry ever ascended to the crown. Thus, why was this mentioned during Henry and Westmoreland’s conversation? Is this only added to create a sense of urgency in controlling the rebels? But why must they “brake off our business for the Holy Land?” (1.1.48). Why are the rebels so threatening to king? Could it be because he overthrew Richard II and he thinks the rebels will do the same to him?

Another question that I had was in regards to Henry’s relational feelings toward this son. Why does Henry talk so highly of Hotspur, while leaving his own son completely out of this? What actions has Hotspur taken to garner such praise from the King? What actions has Hal taken that would defer praise from his father? Without knowing those actions, it is nearly impossible to understand the motives behind the King’s thoughts or actions. I would like to ask the king why he thinks his and Percy’s sons are switched? Is it because he wants his son to be the bravest and strongest, or is it because he does not want to look weak? In the end, is it because you are looking out for your son, or for yourself? These are the questions that I thought of while reading through Act 1 Scene 1.

After reading Act 1 Scene 1, I was thoroughly surprised by the actions taken by the King. After deciding that his plans for a crusade had to be put off due to the turmoil in his country caused by the rebels, he was calm in the midst of all of this trouble. I would have personally been a bit distressed, yet even if the King was, he never showed it. In the first line of the play, when he mentions how shaken are we, I believe that he is referring to the state of the country and not of himself personally. To me, he seems to be more annoyed at what is happening than anything else. But, the more I looked into this, the more I began to feel that he forced himself to stay calm because that would help him achieve his goals in the end. The King’s statement that “for more is to be said and to be done/ Than out of anger can be uttered” (1.1.105-106), focuses on his beliefs of how he should lead his country. I think that the King realizes in order to beat the rebels, he must stay calm and collected, so that he may be able to conquer them. He realizes that anger will not solve his problems, thus he forces himself to be calm, even though the situation may call for panic and distress. This surprised me because I never viewed the King as thoughtful in his actions, until looking at his response to the news of turmoil in his country.

Mon Sep 04, 01:18:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Becca S said...

Act 1 Scene 1:

The significance of this scene, an introduction to the entire play, is to introduce characters and intitial character conflict.

Without this scene, the play would start off with Falstaff and the Prince, which might undermine the position of the characters. By beginning with the King and his lords discussing England's agenda, Shakespeare establishes the basis of the novel --a royal family trying to control England and the possible problems they might face.

Wed Sep 06, 01:45:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Chennery F said...

Act 1 Scene 1:

7) In this opening scene, the king plays a crucial role in setting up the play. He introduces his plans for war in Jerusalem to end internal conflict. He essentially illustrates for the audience how war and conflict will play a mojor role in the story. If I were an actor playing the king, I would need to start out strong and forceful. The king opens with a long speech in which he's very determined to unite his country. At the beginning, the king seems confident that this war can unite his countrymen. But by the end of the scene, he has changed his mind with Hotspur's success in taking prisoners in Scotland. An actor would have to show this fondness the king has for Hotspur. The king looks at Hotspur as the ideal son, so an actor would definitely have to prove how much Hotspur means to the king. He has been very professional until this point in the scene, when the audience discovers how the king envies Lord Northumberland, the real father of Hotspur.

Wed Sep 06, 05:55:00 PM 2006  
Blogger kelsee p said...

Act 1 Scene 1:

Why does the king say, “O that it could be proved that some night-tripping fairy had exchanged in cradle clothes our children where they lay, and called mine Percy, his Platagenet!”? What previous dishonor has the prince committed to make his father say this?

Wed Sep 06, 10:39:00 PM 2006  
Blogger ChristyH said...

Act 1 Scene 1:
After reading scene one, I noticed King Henry's poor relationship with his son and his respect for Hotspur. The King holds Hotspur up much higher then his son, as he says, "A son [Hotspur] who is the theme of Honor's tongue" (1.1.80). Even from this first scene, I can see that Harry has done some things to ruin the respect a father should have for his son. Also, Hotspur has elevated himself to the point where the King honors him above his own son. In the first scene, I also noticed the strong relationship and trust building between King Henry and Westmoreland. This is shown when the King says, "Then let me hear of you, my gentle cousin Westmoreland" (1.1.30-31). The King clearly has a lot of trust in Wesmoreland if he is asking him for news. Scene one reveals to me that King Henry shows his respect for the people he sees as honorable, whether they truly are or not.

Thu Sep 07, 04:32:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Sean K said...

Response to Justin about ACT 1 Scene 1:

The line "brake off our business for the Holy Land" means that the court must putt of their plans for a crusade and fight the civil war with the Scots and Whelsh.

Henry is jealous of Hotspur because he tooks prisoners at a battle in Holmedon

Thu Sep 07, 05:49:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Kylee L said...

Act 1 Scene 1


In this first scene the King tells Westmoreland that he wishes Hotspur was his son. My reaction to this statement made by the King was that Harry was not magnificent enough for the King. The King says, “Whilst I, by looking on the praise of him, see riot and dishonor stain the brow of my young Harry” (6, line 84). The King compares the victories of Harry and Hotspur. Harry had never won any battle of his own while Hotspur was one of the King's greatest military men. I think that Harry had never done anything wrong, but at the same time had never done anything great that the King could be proud of. The King just sees the victory of Hotspur and wishes he could be proud of a son like Hotspur.

Thu Sep 07, 06:02:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Steph Zepelin said...

Prompt 7: The King
In Act 1 scene 1, King Henry and Westmoreland are talking about wars in the holy land. This scene seems very serious to me. I would overact the beginning speech a little because it is so long, and because he expresses serious issues. I would be sure to emphasize the motifs that are found in the first monologue by Henry (especially since it is the first speaking in the play) by saying them more emphatically- night and day, religious symbols, etc...
Westmoreland and Henry should be friendly, but not as friendly as two pub crawlers would be towards one another. Westmoreland seems to be a companion and supporter of the King.
The actor playing Henry should approach this scene with seriousness and urgency. Henry and Westmoreland should act nobly, but Westmoreland could use body language to show the audience that Henry is his superior and that he has respect for Henry.
In this scene, Henry feels pressure to act and Westmoreland feels obligated to help Henry come to the best decision. They have a mutual respect for one another.

Thu Sep 07, 06:38:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Dayna Z said...

Act 1, Scene 1:

#5: The king’s change of mood throughout the scene is a little bit surprising. He begins the scene saying, “Find we a time for frighted peace to pant” (1, 1, 2) which basically means that the war has come to a peaceful halt and he want to take some time to catch his breath and relax. He seems happy and proud during this monologue. He is then shocked by Westmoreland’s news about Mortimer and all the deaths that have occurred. The king’s happiness changes to worry. It then changes again to pride as he boasts about Hotspur’s triumphs in the war, and he describes Hotspur as “the theme of Honor’s tongue” (1, 1, 80). After that, the king becomes angry that Hotspur will not turn over his prisoners and he ends the scene this way. It just seemed really interesting to me that the king could change from calm and happy to angry (with a few stops in the middle) in one very short scene. Maybe this was to explore the many moods of the king all within the first scene. These quick changes in moods might continue throughout the rest of the play.

Thu Sep 07, 07:28:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Kaeli K said...

After reading Act 1 Scene 1, I find myself questioning the character of the King. He seems as if he is very quick with his emotions and decisions. He can become enraged in a second, for example, the King was praising Hotspur and even wishing that he was his own son, but when he found out that Hotspur was keeping the prisoners from him in the war, he was fuming with anger. The King is also hasty to make decisions such as his immediate decision to call Hotspur from battle and make Hotspur report to the King on the prisoner issue. I find this significant because it sets up the King's character. He is quick with his decisions and might not always think them through. This hints that his judgement might not always be correct and a little clouded. This could be significant in scene to come.

Thu Sep 07, 08:06:00 PM 2006  
Blogger kelsee p said...

After reading all of the previous posts especially those of Christy and Kylee, I am still left with the question, why does the king dislike his son so much and even with for a different son. This has to be significant in some way, what previously happened??? Also in response to Kaeli I agree with you in that the king is hasty to make desisions, but I don't agree with the fact that he doesn't think them through. I believe that the king is wiser then you may be giving him credit for just based on his quick desions.

Thu Sep 07, 08:20:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Kaeli K said...

Response to Justin's blog question #5. I think that Henry is concerned about his power to the throne or in other words the strength of his rule. Henry considers his son lazy, a bit of a disgrace because of the people he associates himself with, and not honorable because honor was won in battle and he wasn't particularly exceptional in that area. This puts King Henry on edge because it is making a weak point in his rule and instead of bringing praise to the family, is only bringing skeptical remarks. Henry feels that if he had Hotspur as a son, he would be much better off because he isn't lazy, associates with honorable people, and is exceptional in battle. If Hotspur were his son, the family would recieve unlimited praise from the community.

Thu Sep 07, 08:43:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Emily M said...

If I were acting on stage as King Henry, I would need to be capable of effectively conveying many emotions. In the begninng, I would be standing at center stage, with nothing around me-- simply a single person on stage. My monologue would be performed with great force and determination (picture lost of fists and stomping and shouting). Then my stance would become less stiff as West enters near the end of the speech. My stature would grow limper as West continues to inform me of bad news from battles surrounding England, including Glyndwr's defeat of my army and then Hotspur's refusal to send the prisoners to the king. The latter is a true offense to 'me', the king! Hotspur is purposely disregarding a royal tradition, because he hates 'me'. I would become enraged, partly at 'myself' for earlier wishing that 'my' Harry would be similar to valiant Hotspur. Throughout the scene, I would be standing and sitting at different parts. I would be standing at the beginning, sitting while admiring Hotspur, and then pacing the room at the end of the scene.

Thu Sep 07, 08:44:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Sam S said...

After reading Scene 1 of Act 1, I had a couple questions about the scene. Thanks to Mrs. Ferrill and her undying love of Shakespeare, I learned last year that Shakespeare started his plays with an exciting scene, like the witches in Macbeth, in order to get the "groundlings" interested in the play and stop them from throwing things at the stage. However, I didn't find this first scene to be very exciting. It starts off with a very long speech by King Henry, and I'm sure this could get very, very boring. So why did Shakespeare decide to start his play this way, and deviate from his usual beginnings?

Thu Sep 07, 09:05:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Emily M said...

Response to Sam's question:

(By the way, Ferrill would be proud to read that blog post!) Anyways, Sam I'm going to disagree with you. Kind Henry's speech at the beginning is one of force and power. He wants to finally fight for the good of something else (in this case religion).But as everyone knows, something has to disrupt 'the plan' for the plot to continue. So therefore, the audience members listen to the hope in King Henry's voice, knowing that in reality, he will not see his plan through. The audience is waiting to see just what that interuption might be.

Thu Sep 07, 09:17:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Justin L said...

Response to Dayna Z.’s blog #5:

Reading through Act 1 Scene 1, I noticed this constant emotional shift, yet I think that Shakespeare meant more by this shift, than just exploring the moods of the King, which will probably become clearer further along in the play. These emotional changes seem to signify a weakness of King Henry IV, which is his obsession with maintaining power and projecting that throughout England and the world. This is well evidenced by the King’s response that they “must neglect our holy purpose to Jerusalem” (1.1.100-101). By utilizing the word neglect, the King is setting up the idea that he is being taken away from his purpose, which is to spread the “sepulcher of Christ,” (1.1.19) an idea which removes more power from his position as king because he is now no longer in control of the affairs of his own country. These negative developments during his rule provide the foundation for his change in emotion because he is moved from a comfortable position of power and leadership, to a role of being a spectator in his own country. His angry response to the situations in his country lead to the idea that he is afraid of losing power, as seen when he states that “so shaken as we are, so wan with care” (1.1.1), yet could this reaction be possibly a positive move on the part of the King? This leads to a greater point of whether this obsession with maintaining power and projecting that throughout the land is a good or a bad fixation. I think that this will either be beneficial to his reign, by solidifying the he is in control all of the time, or it will be detrimental to his rule, by showing how he is unable to control his subjects. I think this answer will play out later in the novel.

Thu Sep 07, 09:23:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Kendra W said...

Act 1 Scene 1:

In this scene the king mentions how honorable young Harry Percy is and how he wishes for a son like him to be proud of. The king even speaks aloud that if only his own Prince Harry could be traded for Percy. I can't help but ask why the king chooses to dwell on what he doesn't have when he should be making the best of what he does have. Why does he see Prince Hal's negative qualities and wish for a better son? I understand that Hal is next to rule and holds a large responsibility that he has yet to live up to, so shouldn't the king be focusing on preparing Hal instead of wishing for a more "honorable" candidate? King Henry, instead of dwelling on your son's dishonorable behavior, why don't you do something about it?

Thu Sep 07, 10:00:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Amy J said...

As I read scene one, Westmoreland's words irritated me. He seemed to speak in a haughty and superior tone. For example, in lines 95-96, he tells the king,
"This is Worcester, Malevolent to you in all respects," which seems to put down Worcester without letting the king add his own input of Worcester's character. Throughout the scene, I found Westmoreland to be judgmental. He may have reason to be so, as he is part of the royal court, but my first impression of him was not favorable. I wonder if he has had a dark personal relationship with Worcester, and if Westmoreland will be completely biased toward his actions throughout the rest of the play.

Thu Sep 07, 10:23:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Maya R said...

In response to Kelsee's question, I would say that the king is just ashamed that his son does not take the responsibility a prince should take. While the country is in the midst of a civil war, the prince is stealing travelers' money. I'm sure the king knows about his son's thievery and pub parties and is upset in that respect.

Thu Sep 07, 10:58:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Lauren M said...

Act 1, Scene 1:

Shakespeare used this opening scene to illustrate on overall tone and introduce the king's narcissistic character and the plot.

Without this scene the reader would be even more confused about the plot and King Henry's motives. The reader also wouldn't understand why King Henry resents his son. Furthermore, Hotspur's character draws the reader in when he begins to go out of his normal behavior.

Fri Sep 08, 09:23:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Lauren M said...

In response to Kendra's question, I believe King Henry doesn't do anything about his son's shaming behavior because he is too busy dwelling on recent events that are happening with the civil wars in his country. He seems like a very self absorbed character and doesn't want to put any energy forth to try to motivate his son to be a better person.

Fri Sep 08, 09:26:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Chaser said...

2. The significance of this scene is logically one of the greatest of all in the book. It is here we learn the reason for even having a play. We are not just introduced to some of the main characters in the play, or if not directly introduced we do hear of them, but we also learn the atmosphere, the environment, and an array of factors that will influence our own opinions of the play later. We capture the setting, the morale, the stability, etc. These factors are what allow us to create our own ideas as we go through the play because they will greatly influence us. For example, we learn that Welsh and Scottish rebels on one side of the country are creating havoc while English soldiers are becoming involved in their own brawls on the other. This sets up an anxiety that permits us to realize the environment of all the main groups in the play, because remember: environment influences people with a strong intensity and in ways many of us never realize! We meet Hotspur and the King, two extrememly important individuals, and we begin to develop an attachment to them as the play progresses.

Fri Sep 08, 02:58:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Stacie C said...

In response to Kendra's question about King Henry dwelling on the negative behaviors of his son, I think the reason he does this is because the King is aware of the jeaopardy his throne may be in. For example, in lines 37-41, Westmoreland recounts the news that "noble Mortimer,/ Leading the men of Herefordshire to fight/ Against the irregular and wild Glendower,/ Was by the rude hands of that Welshman taken..." Although Westmoreland acts as though Mortimer is a noble warrior, the King knows that Mortimer has the rightful claim to his throne, and could try to raise an army to depose the Bolingbroke line. Furthermore, since the nation is already in a state of civil turmoil, both the nobility and the soldiers are apt to attack him as the easiest way to end their problems. King Henry complains about his son because he knows that Hal's actions and presence at taverns place him in danger and may cause him to be more vulnerable to attack. However, I do agree with Kendra that the King needs to act upon his complaints-- so far we have seen no interaction between father and son, and certainly no attempts by the King to prevent his son's irresponsable behavior.

Sun Sep 10, 11:15:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Molly M said...

In Reponse to Kelsee:

The king longs for his son to take on his duties as prince. But instead, Hal is spending all of his time in the pub with a crowd that isn't necessarily considered respectable. Henry sees how courageous and honorable Hotspur is and wishes that his son would perform as Hotspur does. Hotspur is fighting valiantly and has succeeded in his efforts for the king. Henry has a desire for his son to be fighting for him and to be setting an example for the leader that some day he will have to be. But if Hal just spends his time messing around, he will never learn how to be a leader or how to earn respect from his country. Henry wonders or wishes that Hal and Hotspur were switched at birth and he has a desire for Hotspur to be his real son because he is so much more respectable.

Sun Sep 10, 01:30:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Robyn Louis said...

1) Summary

This scene, or rather the entire play, begins with a speech by the King. He explains that the country is worn out from the civil wars. However, now that they are done, King Henry IV wants to join the crusades.
(I thought it was ironic that the King was worn out from war, but he wants to join the crusades. It would make more sense if he wanted to restore peace and order to his country since he has just become the king.)

Next, the king is informed of battles on the English borders with the Scottish and Welsh. Hotspur, or Harry Percy, has defeated the Earl of Douglas, a Scotsman.

The King then reveals his jealousy of Northumberland. He is envious of his son. The King's own son has not been victorious in any battles like Northumberland's son, Hotspur.

Finally, the King is informed of Hotspur's plans to keep all of his prisoners, except Mordake. The King sends for Hotspur to explain himself.

Sun Sep 10, 02:56:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Robyn Louis said...

In response to all the questions about Prince Harry and his dishonor.
Several people have asked what dishonor Harry committed. I think it is not what he did but he did not do. Harry has not taken on the role of a prince; he has not been victorious in battles or anything else to bring him or his family glory. The family is not proud of Harry, they are ashamed how he is acting. He should not be seen at the tavern with the pub crawlers or pretending to rob people. He should be just as victorious, if not more, than Hotspur.

Sun Sep 10, 03:05:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Dana A said...

Act I Scene I-

#5 After reading this scene, I was both annoyed and curious as to the character of the king. His beginning speech confused me a little because, if I am correct, he begins the scene sounding relieved that he can finally relax because his country is not in a state of war. But than almost immediatly he switches to a powerful speech about a religious crusade which would surely lead to blood shed when just before he stated, "No more the thirsty entrance of this soil shall daub her lips with her own children' blood." He soon after goes into a hot-headed speech of how he longs for his son to be more like Hotspur, but almost immediatly becomes enraged at Hotspur for not releasing the prisoners. This may be too far fetched but I feel that the king and Prince Hal may be foils to one another. It seems that they are both wishy-washy and rash. The king praises Hotspur and curses him with in the same scene. Prince Hal hangs out with Falstaff and appears to be friends with him but than plots against him. My predction is that the king's hasty nature will remain the same throughout the play but that Prince Hal's nature will evolve and develop into an admirable and honorabel character that will be fit to take on the throne of England.

Sun Sep 10, 04:48:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Dana A said...

In response to Kelsee's question:
I dont necessarily believe that the King actually dislikes his son, I believe that he feels he needs to compensate for his son's ill behavior and does so by wishing his son was a lot more like Hotspur. By doing this it seems he is trying to make others believe that he holds no responsibility for his sons actions. And if the king has no responsibility for the way his son acts than it takes the pressure off of him to do something about his son. It seems to me the king is simply lazy and expects things to just fall into place instead of working to set them in the right place. Like with his son, he wastes his time wishing his son was different instead of trying to have a positive impact on his son's activities.

Sun Sep 10, 05:28:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Nicole M said...

Act 1 Scene 1

The significance of this scene is to introduce the king as being slightly pompous and overconfident, and revealing his feelings about his son's behavior

Mon Sep 11, 08:51:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Nicole M said...

In response to Kendra's comment, I think that the king dwells on his son's shortcomings because of his own personal pride. Hal's shortcomings as a prince reveal King Henry's shortcomings as a parent. Hal is a reflection of the King, and thus the king would want Hal to try and better himself. The king also criticizes the prince's actions and choices, as opposed to actually qualities of his character, thus he is hoping that Hal will change his ways and possibly become more like Harry Percy. His hope that Harry Percy is his true son merely serves to portray the qualities that King Henry values.

Mon Sep 11, 08:57:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Eric G. said...

Prompt Number 10

In Hal's search to find direction and influence to me it seems natural that he would cling to the pub crawlers and despose of the court. After meeting King Henery it is clear that he and the court are no better role models then anyone of the Pub crawlers.

King Henry is not a noble man by any means. He has driven out the rightful heir to the throne and has created bloody turmoil for self-gratifying purposes. He himself admits this remarking that his rise to power was in "civil butchery," that is in civil war not orderly killing (I,i,13). King Henry undoubtedly feels guitly and that is why he feels the need to travel to the holy land. However the King's true priorities shine through when the King learns that his crown is not secure. The King draws on nobility and holiness with his lips as he steps backwards towards his own selfish agenda.

Henry demonstrates that his own selfish desires even outweigh the love he has, if any, for his son. King Henry wishes that Hotspur were his true son and not Hal. King Henry is not admiring Hotspur though but admits that "In his own envy that my Lord Northumberland/ Should be the father to so blest a son," (I.i.88-89). It is unreasonable to expect Hal to embrace his role as Prince when that is all of value to the man who should love him most.

I imagine that Hal finds the Pub Crawlers to be both more entertaining and all in all more comftorable to be around. They may be villians and dogs in the kingdom but at least they know what they are. Are not the King and all his yes-man simply thieves of the greater purse wearing their own vizzard's? How can Hal find any sort of role model in the most unsavory court.

Mon Sep 11, 09:22:00 PM 2006  

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