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Analyzation of Hotspur's Soliloquy in Merry Wives of Windsor

             Hotspur's soliloquy comes just after the meeting between Worcester, and the Douglas. They are planning a strategy to attack Hal's troops. Sir Richard Vernon soon enters the scene and reveals news that Hal is on his way to attack Shrewsbury with seven thousand men. Vernon describes Hal's army, "As full of spirit as the month of May", and "And gorgeous as the sun at midsummer". .
             Hotspur begins his soliloquy, almost interrupting Sir Richard Vernon's praise of Hal. He says, "No more, no more: worse than the sun in March,/ This praise doth nourish agues." Hotspur is telling Vernon to stop complementing Hal's troops already. Hotspur says these complements are not only worse than the sun in March, but are also giving him a severe fever. Shakespeare uses striking imagery to describe Hotspur's angst. "Worse than the sun in March" was probably used as a common aphorism of the time, and is used to show that this praise of Hal's troops is even worse than an ague (an acute or severe fever ). This demonstrates his utter frustration and anxiety in the upcoming arrival of Hal's troops. .
             Hotspur quickly changes the tone of the passage. He says, "Let them come:/ They come like sacrifices in their trim/ And to the fire-eyed maid of smoky war". Hotspur quickly corrects himself by reverting to his strong, courageous personality. Instead of his previous fearful words, he invites Hal's army to fight. Hotspur says, "They come like sacrifices in their trim," indicating that Hal's men will come gaudily dressed in fine attire, but will die as sacrifices to their country. Shakespeare's diction indicates Hotspur's confidence and assurance that his army will be the one to prosper. The sacrifice simile sets an even stronger tone. The simile glorifies Hotspur's troops; it notes that Hotspur's troops will prevail, but it also implies that Hotspur's troops have a religious right to overthrow King Henry. When a sacrifice is made, it is presumed that the person doing the sacrificing is the greater being.

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