Shakespeare’s consider how family dynamics interact with the plays’

plays contain many difficult family relationships. There are absent mothers and
overbearing fathers, disobedient sons and rebellious daughters, scheming
brothers and wily sisters. Familial clashes are usually resolved by the end of
Shakespeare’s comedies, however, in the tragedies the problematic family
relationships tend to end in disaster. Whether the plays are historical,
tragedy, or romance, the portrayal of family is an ever-present component in
Shakespearean drama. Some critics argue that the theme of family relationships
is prominent in about two-thirds of Shakespeare’s plays, while others argue
family is a dominant concern in the entirety of the Shakespearean canon. In
this essay, I will explore how conflicts within families feed into the larger
social and political concerns within the plays and consider how family dynamics
interact with the plays’ the explorations of succession and madness. I will be
focusing on the parent and child relationships in Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part I (1598) and The
Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (1603), as I feel like they tend to be the most unstable.


  Henry IV, Part I, shows the
tumultuous relationship between King Henry IV and Prince Hal and dramatizes, on
a small scale, the civil rebellion that threatens to destroy England. The relationship between father
and son is particularly significant in this play, as the King and the Prince
are the driving characters. Prince Hal is the wayward son of King Henry IV and
the heir to the throne. However, he has pushed his life of nobility aside to drink
and partake in illicit behaviour with Falstaff. Hal fled his life in court when
his father took the kingdom from Richard II to seek out a different father
figure, which he found in Falstaff. However, the influence of his father still
dominates to some extent, even though Hal is in Eastcheap. In the play, Falstaff
is a second father figure to Hal and is a lot more involved in his life than King
Henry IV, Hal’s actual father. The King and Falstaff represent the two sides of
Hal’s life, his royal life which is in Westminster with the responsibilities of
being a prince, and his life in Eastcheap which is where he avoids his
responsibilities and has fun. The fathers on each side are different, and Hal’s
relationship with each of them is different as well. 

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now