Tradition and Rebellion: Accepting Personal and Communal Responsibility

Your station in society dictates your personal responsibilities. You also have responsibilities to a community beyond yourself. How do you prioritize?


You have thoroughly examined both Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1 and the American Revolution for independence. You have begun to see how the themes of both the play and the war era not only overlap but speak to universal issues that cross boundaries of time, place and culture. Now is your chance to purposely weave these threads between the play, the history and yourself. The process you will follow is outlined for you in three parts. Your response to each part should:

  • be ONE PAGE long.

  • include succinct, smoothly blended text references.

  • be proofread for spelling and grammatical errors.

  • be written in the first person singular (do not use "you" or "we").



Part I: Explain how Hal finally chooses to balance his personal and princely responsibilities. What does he learn about honor? How does synthesize the versions of honor that have been discussed and portrayed in the play? Consider the different “stories” about honor that we’ve read: what is honor according to Falstaff? To Henry? To Hotspur?



Part II: How do the founders, or some other North American colonial group—you choose—strike this balance between personal and communal responsibility? Are the members of this group people of honor? How do you know?



Part III: How will you do it? What have you learned about your personal or communal responsibility from these courses of study? Do you relate to…Hal? Falstaff? Kate? Henry? Abigail? The Regulators? A founding father? [Relating to one of these people doesn’t mean that you do what s/he does; but that you learn from what they’ve done.]