Sunday, May 15, 2011

RE: The Henry Explications - Part A

I did not see the clear subtextual connections between "unrestrained loose companions" and "dissolute" (indifferent to moral restraints) and "wanton" (dissolute or unrestrained) in this speech. Now that King Henry's concern about restraint emerges more clearly, we can look also at that first line: "Can no man tell me of my unthrifty son?" Signet (Kenneth Muir) defines "unthrifty" here as "prodigal," fitting with King Henry's growing spiritual observances. However, the more common definition of frugality suggest yet another form of restraint, extending Henry's expectation of it to social, moral, and economic.

What is the king's attitude about restraint? Is it a particularly Medieval concept? Is it particular to his character? Is it also couched in religious observance? Do we see it equally in 1 Henry IVand 2 Henry IV? Is it, as Paul suggests, wrapped up in Henry's attitudes about class, a euphemism for sticking with your own kind? Thoughts?


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