It’s the Egotist’s Club’s fault, really.
A few weeks ago, when it was still only April, I decided to catch up on my favorite bloggers, and subsequently found myself reading a lovely post by Melpomene on the Donmar Warehouse production of William Shakespeare’s Coriolanus. I had heard about the production but hadn’t seen it, and–after a few moments of fangirling–I took to the Internet to read a little more about the play itself.
And as it so often happens with the Internet, one page led to another link, to another play…
I wanted to read everything Shakespearean—to study it, to see it—to immerse myself in it.
In preparation, I read Henry IV, Part I. (I had great plans to read Othello, too, but since Henry took me 3 weeks, I don’t think I will have it finished in time.) There are so many fantastic scenes that I can’t wait to see. And I might be skulking around on YouTube, sneaking looks at other performances.
Like this one, starring Jamie Parker as Henry, the Prince of Wales, better known as “Hal,” and Roger Allam as Falstaff:
I really enjoy this play. I love the duplicity of Hal–that he takes his future as king seriously, even though he does not behave like a good prince should. Like his younger brother does, or his rival Harry Percy.
I am the Prince of Wales; and think not, Percy,
To share with me in glory any more:
Two stars keep not their motion in one sphere;
Nor can one England brook a double reign,
Of Harry Percy and the Prince of Wales.
Act V, Scene iv.
I love Percy–or as he’s better known, Hotspur–too, spurred on by his hurt honor and self-righteous justice. And I love how Shakespeare pits these two against each other in such a way that when Hal does triumph over Hotspur in the end, he emerges from the battle with a better understanding of the honor that Hotspur so valued. He still has a ways to go before he becomes the king seen in Henry V, but it’s a start.
But if it be a sin to covet honor,
I am the most offending soul alive.
Henry V, Act IV, Scene iii.