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Author Topic: Henry IV essay.  (Read 3595 times)  Share 

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gee:)

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Henry IV essay.
« on: September 05, 2012, 01:37:50 pm »
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Read lots of essays written by high achieving students, I'm sure there are plenty around the website. The editorial and opinion section of the Saturday Age also helps greatly with improving sentence structure and flow, but I'm not sure if reading will help you too much given that there is only two months left :S
Have you gotten teachers/fellow students to go over your essays and point out your weaknesses and how to potentially improve your essays?

Hmm.. I have read some excellent essays but I cannot recognise how I can improve from reading someone else's work. They have their own style and I have mine... so if its purpose is to imitate the writing style of another writer, I would neglect to do so.

I have only gotten my English (school) teacher and my tutor to mark my essays. Both state that my expression is weak. I never understood how to improve it. They said it can only improve if I were to write regularly. Mind you, this was at the start of the year. Now, they said that I have improved a lot. Regardless of their remarks, I did not see any significant improvements for my SAC results.
A friend told me after reading one of my essays, there is a lack of linkages between paragraphs. She said that my individual sentences were great but the subsequent sentences don't quite link with each other. I couldn't see this as a problem ?

This was the (incomplete - intro + 2 paragraphs) essay:
  'Hal is an unattractive character'
In Shakespeare’s play, King Henry IV, Part 1, historical figures from the Battle of Shrewsbury are utilised as characters to portray the transition from the medieval to the Renaissance period. The future Henry V, Prince of Wales, also known as Hal, is the character who epitomises the values such as honour that were held important during the medieval era. In this play, the metamorphosis from being a frivolous prince to an honourable man who renders strength to his father in times of civil war, Hal is often depicted as a hero and a man of redemption, gaining approval from not only his father but also the audience. However, Hal achieves this glorification with constant lies. He portrays a façade, and befriends commoners in order to gain the public’s favour. As people’s disposition can be deduced from their behaviour, Hal’s selfishness and sordid actions make him an unattractive person. A shrewd prince is no knight in shining armour.

The Prince of Wales appears valiant in Act 3 Scene 2 when he does not hesitate in agreeing to aid his father on the battlefield against the rebels. This scene may be an affectionate moment when the consanguinity between father and son is restored; however Hal seems to be motivated to participate because of a different objective than family reasons. It is unlikely that Hal has a sudden change of heart when he has not seen his father for three months , yet alone he finds merriment at the tavern, drinking “cups of sack” and shares banter with “fair hot [wrenches] in flame-coloured taffeta”. Hence, we do not see Hal in any of the political scenes in the early parts of the play. His father, King Henry IV, also does not contribute to their relationship or attempt to revive it. Even though both characters live together, the lack of interaction between Hal and his father suggests that both deliberately avoid it. With a tendency to be absent from each other’s company, it seems both characters do not think highly of each other. King Henry displays the state of his relationship with his son when an abominable confession is heard by the court. Although, it is observed that King Henry is concerned about Henry when he begins using “me” instead of the royal “we”, Henry does not confess that he longs for his son to return but wishes that “a night-tripping fairy had exchanged” Hal with Henry Percy at birth. An outburst from a king is rare, which indicates his confession is true as his speech is written in prose. Both characters’ view of each other hints that the conversation between the King and the Prince is a form of practised deceit. Therefore, Hal seems more troubled by the possibility of rebels possessing the throne instead of worried about his old father’s dilemma. Hence, the Prince is not as honourable as his title suggests. This is further supported by Hal’s soliloquy in Act 1, Scene 2. His innate thoughts are believable as he does not need to lie to himself. His true intention of “attracting more eyes” and becoming like “shiny metal” – a precious commodity implies his covert desire to in a superficial society to usurp the throne from his father. His chance to look “more goodly” transforming from a frivolous prince may be catalysed by the war. Bringing glory to his name, it seems more credible that Hal agrees to encounter his father to cleanse the wide held image of him as “degenerate”.

Along with conflicting family issues, Hal regards commoners from the tavern as mere tools for him to elevate himself to the throne. Some critics argue that Hal’s choice of companions despite the difference in echelons is admirable as he is the Prince. This may be partly true but the objectification of uneducated citizens tarnishes his image of a ‘good’ prince. One of the victims is Sir John Falstaff. Within the play, there is a litany of comments, intended to berate “kind John Falstaff” who only gives attention and affection to Hal , winning sympathy from the audience. The harsh remarks  made by Hal only degrade Falstaff’s appearance, which indicates that Falstaff has no actual flaws that can be used against him. Yet, Hal’s cruel words are forgiven by Falstaff as he tries to maintain his relationship with Hal, unlike his father, King Henry. There is a scene when the rambunctious Prince undermines Falstaff that he is a “swollen parcel of dropsies … huge bombard of sack… stuffed cloakbag of guts… roasted Manningtree ox with/ the pudding in his belly… ”. This occurrence is when Falstaff role-plays the King and Hal may feel that his power and position are threatened by Falstaff . With a selfish intent, his superiority overrules the common folks in the tavern. It is noted that his prior speeches are composed of puns and prose, which shows the equality within the tavern regardless of their status. In this particular scene, it is observed that it is Hal’s first time commanding people to be his lackeys such as “search [Falstaff’s] pockets” to Poins.  Hal’s soliloquy in Act 1 also insinuates that he is only interested in appearing honourable without being so – fulfilling the Machiavellan ideal of a Renaissance Prince. His actions and words are strong indications to deduce that he does intent to use the civilians as his appendages to allow his “metal” to “shine”. Despite yearning for attention from everyone especially his father, Hal orders Falstaff and other nameless people from the tavern to join the war knowing that Falstaff’s attitudes are not in a state to fight and is not interested in the political aspects of the society. Hal’s inability to eradicate his envy for Falstaff after gaining what he desired.


If you have time, I would love to receive some feedback.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2012, 07:12:53 pm by charmanderp »
"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." - Sir Winston Churchill

dilks

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Re: Essay analysis required.
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2012, 06:28:42 pm »
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You do know you don't have to agree with the prompt right?

Edit: Also some of the sentences are a bit clunky. Have you tried listening to your sentences?

Edit 2: To clarify why I ask, if I was writing on this prompt I would agree that Hal starts off as an unattractive character (in contrast to Hotspur and Falstaff), but that he transforms/redeems himself over the course of the play (whereas Hotspur and Falstaff become less attractive over the course of play as we come to appreciate their flaws.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2012, 06:02:12 pm by dilks »
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Somye

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Re: Essay analysis required.
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2012, 09:54:01 pm »
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Not quite sue Falstaff is the angel you set him up to be
He lies all the time, is self serving, a thief, and also took bribes in order to release soldiers till he only had cripples and beggars
And about Hal enlisting him to fight, I'm pretty sure Falstaff was obliged to anyway, he had been knighted 'Sir John Falstaff'
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AutumnConcerto

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Re: Essay analysis required.
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2012, 06:26:14 pm »
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Mind you, I'm in year 12 and have no contextual knowledge about your text, but I'll try my best to analyse your sentence structure and flow.
From a brief scan of your essay, I feel as if your vocabulary is quite impressive however you tend to include unnecessary words in your sentences. Emboldened sections are sections I would have changed if I was proofreading the essay, while sections in italics are corrections I am unsure of.

First paragraph:
Not sure what your main idea is. You state that Hal epitomises values such as honour, allowing for his transformation into an honourable man, yet say Hal achieves this through constant lies, which is illogical. You have to make sure your points are clear, or they will be easily misunderstood. I'm assuming that his metamorphosis is only outwardly, and he utilizes deceit and trickery in order to do this?


In Shakespeare’s play, King Henry IV Part 1, historical figures from the Battle of Shrewsbury are depicted as characters in order to portray the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. The future Henry V, Prince of Wales, also known as Hal, is the character who seemingly epitomises the values such as honour that were held in esteem during the medieval era. In this play, the Hal's outward metamorphosis from being a frivolous prince to an honourable man, rendering strength to his father in times of civil war, allows him to be seen as a man of redemption, a celebrated hero and a worthy son in the eyes of his father. gaining approval from not only his father but also the audience. However, Hal's road to glorification is be-riddled with deceit and trickery. He portrays a façade, and befriends commoners in order to gain the public’s favour. As people’s disposition can be deduced from their behaviour, Hal’s selfishness and sordid actions make him an unattractive person. A shrewd prince is no knight in shining armour.

The way you use facade in that sentence doesn't make sense. Possibly a way of phrasing this is: "Assuming a chivalrous facade, he befriends commoners...
Not sure if I've helped or not, but I tried haha
« Last Edit: September 06, 2012, 06:28:29 pm by AutumnConcerto »
"You got a dream... You gotta protect it. People can't do somethin' themselves, they wanna tell you you can't do it. If you want somethin', go get it. Period."

gee:)

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Re: Essay analysis required.
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2012, 06:41:54 pm »
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You do know you don't have to agree with the prompt right?

Edit: Also some of the sentences are a bit clunky. Have you tried listening to your sentences?

Edit 2: To clarify why I ask, if I was writing on this prompt I would agree that Hal starts off as an unattractive character, but that he transforms/redeems himself over the course of the play; and (perhaps go on to say) that this stands in contrast to Hotspur and Falstaff who start off as attractive characters but become less attractive over the course of the play as we come to appreciate their flwas.

Thanks for the feedback.
Yes, I am aware that you do not have to agree with the prompt. However, I wrote this essay when I had finished reading Act 1. It was probably not wise to write up an essay unless I knew the content but I just wanted to write one to pinpoint the flaws in my sentence structures, paragraphs, etc and etc.
Although Hal may had this glorifying transformation, I still think he is an unattractive character.
- He uses commoners for his selfish purpose then disregard them.
- He steals the spotlight from Hotspur. Even though I don't like Hotspur as well, he fought in many wars to gain reputation and honour.
  I hate that Hal, who has been a scum for the last 3 months, did nothing but drank alcohol in a tavern while Hotspur risked his lives when he went to battles.
 Also, I began to see the arrogance in his speech especially after scene 3. Overall, I think he is not that pleasant. It's just my opinion, I guess.

I put up this essay for people to comment about my English usage rather than the arguments made.
Could you please be more specific about your comment on clunky sentences? How can I improve this? What makes it sound awkward?

Not quite sue Falstaff is the angel you set him up to be
He lies all the time, is self serving, a thief, and also took bribes in order to release soldiers till he only had cripples and beggars
And about Hal enlisting him to fight, I'm pretty sure Falstaff was obliged to anyway, he had been knighted 'Sir John Falstaff'

Thank you for your feedback. As this prompt focuses on Hal, I purposely did not talk about Falstaff's own flaws.
I didn't really set Falstaff to look like an angel... I just didn't mention it.
Instead, I tried to reprimand Hal's actions to support my arguments by including necessary snippets from the play that can be used as an evidence against Hal.
I do agree with you but I also see Hal as a liar, thief, and self-serving. If I were to start talking about Falstaff in the second paragraph it would seem that I am side-tracked. Hope that made some sense(?)
"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." - Sir Winston Churchill

gee:)

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Re: Essay analysis required.
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2012, 07:11:03 pm »
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Mind you, I'm in year 12 and have no contextual knowledge about your text, but I'll try my best to analyse your sentence structure and flow.
From a brief scan of your essay, I feel as if your vocabulary is quite impressive however you tend to include unnecessary words in your sentences. Emboldened sections are sections I would have changed if I was proofreading the essay, while sections in italics are corrections I am unsure of.

First paragraph:
Not sure what your main idea is. You state that Hal epitomises values such as honour, allowing for his transformation into an honourable man, yet say Hal achieves this through constant lies, which is illogical. You have to make sure your points are clear, or they will be easily misunderstood. I'm assuming that his metamorphosis is only outwardly, and he utilizes deceit and trickery in order to do this?


In Shakespeare’s play, King Henry IV Part 1, historical figures from the Battle of Shrewsbury are depicted as characters in order to portray the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. The future Henry V, Prince of Wales, also known as Hal, is the character who seemingly epitomises the values such as honour that were held in esteem during the medieval era. In this play, the Hal's outward metamorphosis from being a frivolous prince to an honourable man, rendering strength to his father in times of civil war, allows him to be seen as a man of redemption, a celebrated hero and a worthy son in the eyes of his father. gaining approval from not only his father but also the audience. However, Hal's road to glorification is be-riddled with deceit and trickery. He portrays a façade, and befriends commoners in order to gain the public’s favour. As people’s disposition can be deduced from their behaviour, Hal’s selfishness and sordid actions make him an unattractive person. A shrewd prince is no knight in shining armour.

The way you use facade in that sentence doesn't make sense. Possibly a way of phrasing this is: "Assuming a chivalrous facade, he befriends commoners...
Not sure if I've helped or not, but I tried haha



Thank you for your time. I know how time-pressured we all can be yet you helped me. :)

That’s exactly what I wanted in my introduction. This is my train of thought:

Many people like Hal so I wanted to acknowledge their views to show that I understand where they are coming from. So yeah, I tried to say that his outcome may look good but the methods he uses to achieve that was quite ruthless(?) and well-calculated. Is that okay to do that in the introduction?

I guess I can include clarity as another factor that’s pulling my marks down along with a litany of other mistakes.

So how do I fix this up on my own? Obviously you can do it very well but I can’t.
Can you please give me some tips on how should I write and what I should be thinking while writing?
"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." - Sir Winston Churchill

AutumnConcerto

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Re: Henry IV essay.
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2012, 07:37:26 pm »
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Yes of course! You are clearly addressing the prompt and giving your spin on it. Just make sure you always keep the prompt in mind and write around it.

Like Dilks said, try to listen to how the sentence would sound like in your head. Personally I find that I can gauge the clarity of the sentence quite well when I do this, and correct overly long sentences or funny sounding phrases.
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charmanderp

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Re: Henry IV essay.
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2012, 08:08:24 pm »
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Or even just read them out loud when writing essays at home. That's legitimately something that took me from getting 34-36 in Lit at the start of last year to 39s and 40s by exam time.
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dilks

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Re: Essay analysis required.
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2012, 03:33:57 pm »
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Could you please be more specific about your comment on clunky sentences? How can I improve this? What makes it sound awkward?

I think it was only a few of them. I think the worst instance was:

Quote from: gee:)
His actions and words are strong indications to deduce that he does intent to use the civilians as his appendages to allow his “metal” to “shine”.
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gee:)

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Re: Henry IV essay.
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2012, 06:16:27 pm »
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Thank you for the suggestions. :)
To be honest, I don't know if reading it out aloud will help me.
Coming from a non-English speaking background (although that shouldn't be an excuse), I can't tell if my sentences are awkward or not.
Even if there are a few of them, I want to avoid them because one awkward sentence could destroy the clarity of the essay.

I'm so sorry if I sound really demanding. I'm just frustrated that I still have this problem.
"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." - Sir Winston Churchill