“My own private Idaho” is a film that was inspired by Shakespeare’s Henry IV, and no element epitomizes this in the movies as much as Scott’s character does. Prince Hal and Scott’s backgrounds, their relationships with their family and their associations with members of a lower class are all symptomatic of these similarities.
The first and most obvious similarity between Prince Hal and Scott is that they both come from rich families. Prince Hal is going to be the next heir of the throne –King Henry V – while, Scott has a rich dad too. They both decide to rebel against their fathers by engaging in inappropriate behavior. The concept of strained familial relationships is one that is common between these two individuals.
Prince Harry of Henry IV and Scott Favor also go through the same struggle of looking for new families. Although their dads are alive, there is a serious disconnect between the siblings and their parents. Harry feels like he needs to look for a different home where he can get love. He was tired of the pretentiousness and rigidity of the aristocracy. Scott wanted to be in a situation where he could let loose or be himself. He found a new family in the street members he associated with.
Through Mike, Bob and some of their friends, he is able to feel comfortable and at ease. In fact, Scott felt that Bob was a better caregiver than any of his parents could be. He appreciated the support that Bob gave him when they plotted their respective ploys and adventures. In the new life that he has taken up, no one expects him to be overly concerned about proper mannerisms and niceties.
In Henry IV, Prince Hal also finds a replacement to his family through Falstaff. Indeed Bob is an allusion to the character Falstaff. They all have a taste for life, and they all cause their new acquaintances to fulfill a missing component in their lives. Falstaff and Harry often engage in binge drinking and sleep with prostitutes (Shakespeare, 1598). They do daring things that would naturally have been considered a problem by their parents.
It is essential to realize that both Hal and Scott are distinctly aware of their place in society. Scott plans on becoming a mayor someday; he is ambitious and knows that there will be no place for people like Mike and Bob in that life. All he wants to do is to wait for his inheritance money before this can take place. Once his father dies, he plans on taking that money, and assuming the responsibilities that were bestowed upon him.
In fact, these intentions are confirmed when Mike and Scott go to Italy. Scott meets a beautiful girl and abandons Mike for her. At this point, Scott appears to be this selfish individual who was simply using a member of a lower class in order to achieve his own goals. Scott also affirms that he plans on taking on his responsibilities in a dramatic fashion, through a transformation. He believes that doing it when people least expect it will make it more amazing.
These intentions are eventually confirmed when Bob and Scott’s father die. Scott breaks up his union with his friend Bob, and this causes him to die from the shock that someone who he thought of as his son could reject him so directly. When Scott’s father dies, Bob’s funeral can be contrasted to his dad’s funeral; one was grand and impressive while the other was modest and insignificant.
Scott prepares to take on his new responsibilities and shuns off the old, disrespectful life he led. Similarly, Prince Hal also has a plan up his sleeve. In early parts of the play, Hal tells the audience that he intends on changing his wayward ways. He will do this by taking on his rightful place in the kingdom; a decision that will prove to his father and other people in the kingdom that he is worthy of his title.
He thinks that this will be a way earning instant respect because it will be a transformation. In fact, Prince Hal gets to redeem himself during the Battle of Shrewsbury. At this point, he meets up with the leader of the enemy camp –Hotspur – and they each seek to prove their might. As fate would have it, Harry wins by killing the enemy and comes out as a hero.
Playtime is over for him. His feat with Falstaff was just that as he is now going to live a new life. When Falstaff is rejected, Prince Hal is essentially abandoning his humanitarian side for politics, this is symptomatic of a Machiavellian leader (a prince who does not rely on goodness as a prerequisite to good leadership, but uses selfish and unconventional methods like charisma in order to win the support of the people).
At the end of the play, one can also deduce that there are certain differences between Hal and Scott. Scott was looking to kill some time or do rebellious things when he forged a union with Mike. Conversely, Prince Hal may have been preparing for his role as King when doing this.
In one instance, he affirmed that he could fit-in quite easily with the commoners, and in fifteen minutes, they would think that he was one of them (Shakespeare, 1598). Furthermore, he kept playacting with Falstaff regarding being King. It seems that living with the commoners was one way of sharpening his leadership skills. However, for Scott, it was simply a way of making a statement to his father.
Additionally, “my own private Idaho” does not really illustrate a dramatic transformation of Scott’s identity. This was quite vivid in Henry IV because Hal went to fight and he won. Harry gained honor and recognition for this feat, and shamed Hotspur. One is only left to think about the life that Scott will lead in the future.
Scott Favor was a loose depiction of Prince Harry owing to several factors. Both men were sons of rich fathers, and they rebelled against them. They were both looking for a family in the form of their new unions. They were also aware of their place in society, and realized that their rebelliousness would have to end.
The main difference between them lies in the fact that Prince Hal sees his rebelliousness as a preparation for his kingship. Conversely, this is just a way of making a statement to Scott. Furthermore Hal transforms dramatically in the story while Scott is going to take on those responsibilities in the future.
Shakespeare, W. (1598). The History of Henrie the Fourth. London: P.S.