Prince Hal appreciates his youth by living a life of stealing and spending much time with his companion of robbers. He also knows that he must become the responsible leader that his father wants him to be. He plans to be mature and impress those who did not believe he can be a responsible king. After he has a conversation with his father, the King he makes a goal to prove it to his father that he can be that mature responsible leader his father wishes to see by promises to kill the leader or the rebellion Hotspur. Hal changes throughout the play not with the help of other people but through other people.
Prince Hal and King Henry make repeated remarks about comparing themselves to celestial bodies. Prince Hal says to the audience in his first soliloquy that he is the sun and permits his lower life friends to shroud him covering him, then when he can, break through and amaze the entire kingdom. Instead of comparing himself to the sun like his son King Henry instead says he’s a comet, saying he was so successful “By being seldom seen, I could not stir But like a comet I was wondered at; that men would tell their children ‘this is he ;’”( III. ii. 2).
They are both trying to create an image in the eyes of the kingdom. A predominant family relationship between a father and his son is a continuous element in the play. This relationship exists between Northumberland and Hotspur as well as in King Henry IV and Prince Hal. It is interesting to think that Shakespeare shaped a parallel between the two opposing relationships. It becomes clear that Northumberland has the same regards for Hotspur as Henry does for Hal, despite the fact that Hotspur and Prince Hal are complete opposites of each other, it may even be possible that each father wants the other’s son.
King Henry refers to Hotspur as, “A son who is the theme of Honor’s tongue” (I. i. 80). King Henry is humiliated by Prince Hal’s affair with the tavern crew as well as his lack of noble stature. Northumberland is exasperated by his Hotspurs impulsiveness and temper. When the King’s forces battle the rebels, Prince Hal, who never had such a close relationship with his father, comes to save his father from Douglas. This shows a much stronger relationship between Prince Hal and King Henry than in the beginning of the play.
Hal is very carefree when we first meet him, he drinks and he jokes along with Falstaff, after his first soliloquy thought his tone and attitude changes around his friends. He becomes more discourteous and repeatedly dumps repugnance and odious jokes on Falstaff meaning them more before, the jokes become different they are said with more with a sharp knife than a friendly joke. Hal now sees his companions inferior weights keeping him from becoming King which is in fact his own fault he is not the respected prince he wishes to be, he’s placing them blame on other people.
Hal likes being the center of attention; he is the prince after all. Hal shows no remorse for robbing Falstaff and lets him make himself look like a fool. Hal seems to hate his life as it is to make himself feel better he pushes them all below him, Falstaff mostly. Hall shifts from one world to another, the tavern world and the royal world are two very different. He wants to improve his life, to be a part of court and become King. Hal may have brought Falstaff into the royal world with him so that Hal would not be at the bottom of the pecking order.
The wash up Prince trying to do good; no one would take him seriously. Having Falstaff with him; the drunken fat knight who doesn’t want to do anything gives Hal a leg up gives him someone even lower than himself, someone Hal can persecute and bully to make Hal feel superior. Falstaff becomes obsolete through the play; Falstaff is the embodiment of rebellion and disorder for Hal, which was great until Hal didn’t want that anymore, Hal stops pretending that they are friends and stops caring about him.
In Hal’s second speech he is Prince Henry, his speech after just killing Hotspur starts with Hal saying you are dead Percy, goodbye he had a great heart. When Percy’s body contained a soul, an entire kingdom was too small to hold it. The ground that he lied dead upon didn’t have a single living man as brave as him. Hal is really being very respectful and remorseful even though it was his goal to kill Percy. But then he adds that if Percy was alive to hear this he would not be commendation him so lavishly. ”Thy ignominy sleep with thee in the grave, but not remembered in thy epitaph (V. v. 103-104). The disgraces that Hal says are Hotspurs that should die with him could have a double meaning, the disgraces Hal talks about could be his own. Killing Hotspur gave Hal the closure he needed to his old life. This may not be true in all situations but Hal has made a predominate life change, Prince Hal changed because he wanted to become king. Hal didn’t change on his own; he wouldn’t have had the opportunity to make the switch into the royal world if Hotspur hadn’t made the motion to start a rebellion.
The rebellion wouldn’t have started if Mortimer hadn’t married a woman he couldn’t even verbally communicate with or if the King had sent a different person to collect Hotspurs prisoners. Hal didn’t change his life; he rode the waves created by others. The only action Hal made to change everything was killing Hotspur and in that moment he felt the relief of correcting a wrong decision made awhile before. Hal changes throughout the play not with the help of other people but through other people.