In Shakespeare's Henry IV, the audience is taken on a journey of Hal's transformation from an immature degenerate into an effective ruler. His transformation path resembles that of a college student in the sense that there is enormous pressure to succeed once the time comes. When graduation comes, college students now face the realities of the professional world, which is what Hal faced when his father died. Hal's transformation into a ruler resembles that of a college student maturing as they both face pressures from the outside world, parents, and friends. .
At the beginning of the play, before he makes an on stage appearance, Hal is introduced to the audience by King Henry IV with frustration and some level of embarrassment. He says, "Whilst I, by looking on the praise of him, / See riot and dishonor stain the brow / Of my young Harry " (1.1, lines 84-86). Right off the bat, these three verses show King Henry IV's discontent with the actions of his son. When he says " the praise of him, " the King is wishing that Hotspur, the son of Northumberland, be his son instead. He makes it very obvious to the audience that Prince Hal does not live up to his expectations. At this point, the audience assumes that Hal is a complete disappointment and has none of the makings to be the next king. So when Hal comes into the picture in the next scene with a drunk, the audience is not surprised and gets exactly what they expected from Hal. He sits with his friends Poins and Falstaff as they talk about robbing couriers in the morning. Falstaff asks Hal if he plans to join the adventure, and the audience waits to see if Hal will participate. Hal surprises everyone when he responds with, "Who, I rob? I a thief? Not I, by my faith " (1.2, line 138). This is the first hint that Hal is not as bad as his father and others fear him to be.
The audience is further introduced to Hal once Poins and Falstaff leave the room.