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Essay about The Once And Future King by T.H White, Henry IV by Shakespeare, linked to the archetypal values in Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Adventure.

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  1. Introduction
  2. Death and resurrection
    1. The mythology of the hero
    2. The readers first introduction to Arthur
    3. The first imperative lesson that Arthur learns
    4. Harry and Arthur: The knowledge to follow their destiny
  3. Legitimate rules: Why they fail
    1. Questioning the qualities of an honorable ruler
    2. Institutionalizing the gift of a new ideology
    3. The blame for Arthur's corrupt court
  4. Conclusion: The missing piece of consciousness
  5. Works cited

Perhaps the very word ?hero? should suffer a live vivisection for all of its purported morality and bloody, patriarchal implications. There are many universal components of the hero as explored and anatomized by Joseph Campbell in The Hero's Adventure. You've seen it many times before; a young boy leaves and denies the whims of maternal dependency and suddenly the external world itself simply unfolds in all of its grandeur before him. All that he has to do is follow the prompts, and somehow, legitimize the world in his endeavors with this new god-like knowledge he stumbles upon. The texts that contain these presupposed heroic adventures and notions are many times seen as living and breathing with us in the contemporaneous realm. Stories such as Shakespeare's Henry IV and T.H. White's opus The Once and Future King provide us with a powerful reference in all of their didactic yet flawed nature of what a hero truly is. Ultimately, a hero is someone who breaks out of the mechanized system we all are confined within and is brave enough to be truly human.

[...] He succeeds in that he attempts to save lives by challenging Hotspur to a one on one duel despite that scheming messengers thwart the message. The aim of the true hero is to save lives while also upholding some sort of principle for the good of humanity. Despite that he is the closest thing there is to a protagonist, Harry is not absolved from the vain trappings of gallantry and honor. He makes this worse by ostracizing himself from his dear friend Falstaff, and literally denying the ideals that his he offered him. [...]


[...] Hotspur seems to be an empty vessel obsessed with obtaining the virtues of honor through battle, and Harry as ambiguous as he is at times, also believes that he can very simply gain honor by fighting. These vacillating points of honor and legitimate rule make the notions surrounding them seem even more specious and ludicrous. Shakespeare perhaps places his most central views of chivalry upon Falstaff as he believes that it is nothing but a lacking in any real relevance. [...]

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