William Shakespeare is an important landmark in English literature. He is known not only for his timeless language but his ability to use just the right combination of words to create a certain scene. With his use of prolific language and immaculate sense of self, Shakespeare has derived a way to surpass the test of time. In Henry IV: Part One, Shakespeare utilizes the word "discomfited" to forge a connection between King Henry IV, Earl of Douglas, Sir Walter Blunt, and Hotspur. The word "discomfit" bears a great significance to the play's theme examined the ideas of Shakespeare's irony, choice of diction, and chiasmus. .
The word "discomfited" (1A) according to the Oxford English Dictionary, can be defined as "Defeated in battle; beaten, routed; vanquished." There is no doubt that this definition of the word is the one in which Shakespeare was applying to the play because the word was stemmed in 1538, a few decades before the play was written. This word is spotted a mere two times in the play. It may be overlooked as significant, yet if it is investigated by the mirroring correlation taking place between these characters, there is a strong connection. Both times the word appears in the play, it is spoken by King Henry referring to The Earl of Douglas. The first occasion King Henry uses the word, he states, "The Earl of Douglas is discomfited" (1.1.67). The second instance the word is exercised King Henry says "Discomfited great Douglas; ta'en him once;" (3.2.114). Whenever the word "discomfited" is applied, it is to describe the defeat of Douglas. Whenever the King refers to Douglas in the lines that "discomfited" is used, he affirms the title of "Earl of Douglas" displaying honor to his name or addresses him as "great Douglas" giving the sense that he is renowned. Shakespeare does this to show that King Henry does not believe Douglas possesses any honor.