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Hal: The Butterfly

A step to personal transformation is realization. Prior to that, one has to accept current stance and reflect on needed changes. Without reflection and yearning for improvement, personal change would be difficult. Physical change such as loss of a limb is easier to overcome than character change. Both takes time for adjustment, but it is harder to monitor what one cannot easily see. Character and behavior are formed through everyday interactions and experiences. One’s present self has been shaped by the past years. As Hal exemplifies, the right attitude to change can indeed spark a lasting transformation.

Hal is backed with an inherited obligation to do good and a challenged desire to prosper. He wants to change how people see him. The same pressure is handed to the youth today. There is equal temptation to enjoy life for we only live once. Why waste this opportunity when there are so many things to explore and enjoy. The vices and abuses of life are commonly the ones the youth vouch for today. And then there is the iron hand of parents, pushing their children to change for a better life. Our parents have matured and perhaps all they want is the best for their children.

The setting of this play would be a 21st century middle class neighborhood, where houses are just enough for a family of five. School is just a few minutes away from home. Hal’s parents work in the next city, about an hour’s drive, which they get to pass by when heading for the airport. The vicinity of Hal’s house is a quiet neighborhood. Like every peaceful place with a noisy, bustling counterpart, a few blocks from Hal’s house is the off limits zone where youth of his age are seen to sniff stuff and stand around theft hotspots. Hal’s parents, both working in law offices, are too busy to come home early and spend time with their children.

So Hal have grown a habit to drop by the off limits zone and take time chatting with his old friend Falstaff. Falstaff, a police officer gone astray, lives by himself at the off limits zone. He maintains a lousy abode befitting his dormant lifestyle. With his enormous built and clumsy-looking attire, he lets Hal and his friends hang in his house, have beer, which he feels is good for their heart anyway. The young men like hanging around Falstaff. He makes them feel more at home than their home. He lets them say whatever they urge to say. And sometimes encourages them to do what they want to do.

He laughs with their insults and reveres their bright ideas. Falstaff admires Hal most. Hal is like the son he lost fifteen years ago in a car accident. Falstaff looks at Hal as his son reincarnated into a better off family. He is fond of Hal and will stand by him as long as he can. Hal drops by Falstaff’s dim lit apartment and their conversation flows spontaneously. Hal turns on the light as he enters the room where Falstaff is watching TV with beer on the table. In lines 1- 31 Falstaff defends himself, talks to Hal with comic sarcasm and dares.

He stops watching TV and delightedly engages in conversation with his young guest. He takes pride in what he has become and reasons with Hal on the other hand rides with Falstaff’s praise and criticizes Falstaff’s income generation schemes. Their facial expressions would show that they are entertained with the exchange. Falstaff would widen his eyes in pretense offense in Hal’s insults. Hal stands and approaches the kitchen to get himself a beer. In lines 32-45, Falstaff gets excited as Poins arrives and enthusiastically explains their upcoming adventure. Hal met Poins at Falstaff’s corner.

Poins studied at the other end of the state, but presently did not attend school for some reason his parents didn’t tell him. In lines 46-53, Hal is easily persuaded to come and assured he will not hate Falstaff for being an instrument of their adventure. Poins gives a thumbs-up to the two and walks towards the kitchen. Meantime, Falstaff tunes back to his TV show. Poins cautiously approaches Hal and talks of his conspiracy for the next day. Hal hesitates but succumbs (Shakespeare, lines 56-64). Falstaff would understand them. He always does. Poins gulps some beer and bids them goodbye.

Hal excuses himself from Falstaff and walks his way home. Hal keeps his eyes low (Shakespeare, lines 65-87). He thinks about what he has been doing the past years since he met Falstaff and his friends in the neighborhood. His parents have long been telling him to get things straight. In lines 67-73, he thinks about what he wants to become and looks inspiringly towards the sky-the spotlight at the right of the stage. He moves his hand in free gestures as if showing someone the way (Shakespeare, lines 74-81). He continues to walk the last block to his house with a knowing smile upon his face.

He turns to the audience and says lines 82-87 as if telling a secret to the audience. Soon, he promises himself he would change. After their adventures, Hal is confronted several times by his father. He acknowledges his father’s authority by accepting his misdemeanor, apologizes and promises to renew his ways. It is uncommon for sons to peacefully give way to a father’s aspiration. But Hal naturally accepted things as the right path for him and his family.

Reference: Shakespeare, W. The First Part of King Henry the Fourth. Bartleby. com. November 12, 2006. <http:// www. bartleby. com/70/index27>

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