Nobody seemed to know the answer to the hidden quiz about the Shakespeare allusions in my Warlike Harry post, so I’ll have to tell you the answer: Many of you caught that “warlike Harry” comes from HENRY V. But the great hero in that play was the irresponsible, party-hearty youth in HENRY IV, part I and part II. In those two plays, we see the reckless Prince Hal getting into trouble and embarrassing the kingdom with his bad-influence pal Falstaff. But then, when his father’s kingdom is threatened, Prince Hal pulls himself together, goes to war, and becomes a hero. When his father dies and Hal succeeds him as Henry V, the first thing he does is banish his friend Falstaff to remove his temptation. He has put away his youthful egotism, assumed his responsibilities, and become a grown-up.
In our world, Prince Harry has been fodder for the tabloids with his irresponsible behavior. But now the same media that luridly disapproved of his drinking and his girlfriends is now hailing him as a hero. This Prince Harry too–who poignantly says that the hardships and dangers of combat have enabled him to have be “normal”– may have grown up too. And, incidentally, he has raised the battered image of the royal family, possibly helping to save the throne.
(Notice how deeply Shakespeare peers into the human condition.)