Philip Weller caricature
Philip and Weller hugging

Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.

The First Part of Henry IV:
Scene Index

Simple Scene Index:

Act 1, Scene 1

Act 1, Scene 2

Act 1, Scene 3

Act 2, Scene 1

Act 2, Scene 2

Act 2, Scene 3

Act 2, Scene 4

Act 3, Scene 1

Act 3, Scene 2

Act 3, Scene 3

Act 4, Scene 1

Act 4, Scene 2

Act 4, Scene 3

Act 4, Scene 4

Act 5, Scene 1

Act 5, Scene 2

Act 5, Scene 3

Act 5, Scene 4

Act 5, Scene 5

Scene Index with Summaries:

These summaries written
Kathryn Bowman
    King Henry receives the bad news that in the ongoing civil war, Mortimer has been captured by the wild Welchman Glendower, and the good news that Hotspur has defeated his Scots foes and captured the Earl of Fife. King Henry praises Harry Hotspur and wishes that he were his son, rather than his own Harry, who is stained by "riot and dishonour." However, the King is disturbed that Hotspur refuses to hand over all of his prisoners. An advisor, Westmoreland, tells the King that Hotspur's uncle Worcester is the one responsible for that bit of mischief. The King replies that his next business is to confront Hotspur about the prisoners.
    The Prince of Wales (Hal) and Falstaff engage in witty sparring about Falstaff's degenerate lifestyle and Falstaff's future when the Prince becomes King.
(1.2.105) Enter POINS.
    The repartee continues when Poins enters and proposes a plan to rob a group of pilgrims and traders, but the Prince says that he is not a thief. Poins asks Falstaff to leave so he can talk the Prince into his elaborate robbery plan.
(1.2.159) Exit Falstaff.
    Falstaff exits and Poins persuades the Prince to join him in his "jest" to rob the robbers (Falstaff, Bardolph, Peto and Gadshill).
(1.2.194) Exit Poins.
    The scene ends with a poetic soliloquy by the Prince who rationalizes his thievery by fantasizing about his future renown when men will be surprised that "this loose behaviour I throw off."
     King Henry is upset with Worcester (who he dismisses from his presence) and Hotspur because the prisoners he ordered returned have not been delivered. King Henry treats Hotspur harshly despite his clever recounting of how hard it was to take orders from a fop on the battlefield when he was still "smarting with my wounds." Sir Walter Blunt tries to defend Hotspur as does Northumberland (his father), but neither is able to soften the King's attitude.
(1.3.124) Exit King [with Blunt and Train].
     King Henry again orders Hotspur to send him the prisoners of war and further accuses Hotspur of lying about Mortimer's battle with Glendower, declaring that no such encounter took place. As soon as the King leaves, Hotspur flies into a rage, saying he will not send the prisoners to the King should the devil himself come for them, and that he will risk his life to "lift the down-trod Mortimer" (his brother-in-law). Worcester (Hotspur's uncle) says that he cannot blame the King for his feelings about Mortimer, as Richard II (whose crown King Henry usurped) had proclaimed Mortimer to be the next in line for the throne—"the next in blood," which is news to Hotspur that further fans his fury. Hotspur, enraged, says that he would poison King Henry's son, the Prince of Wales, "But that I think his father loves him not." As Hotspur rages on, his father (Northumberland) calls Hotspur a fool for "tying thine ear to no tongue but thine own," but Worcester uses reverse psychology in order to get a chance to speak, saying, "We will stay your leisure." Hotspur then listens to his uncle's plan to get revenge on the king, to which both Hotspur and Northumberland agree. Worcester tells them to do nothing until they hear from him.
(2.1.1) Enter a CARRIER with a lantern in his hand.
     The carrier is late getting ready to leave for London and is yelling at the ostler to hurry. Another carrier enters and they discuss the number of flea bites they got in this house overnight, what goods they will be transporting, and the need to have the gentlemen travel with them to increase their numbers and make robbery less likely. Gadshill enters and tries to borrow a lantern, but the carrier he asks refuses as he does not trust Gadshill. The chamberlain enters and tells Gadshill how much money the gentlemen have as they joke with each other about being thieves; Gadshill tries to get the chamberlain to join the imminent robbery, saying he will get a share, but the chamberlain does not trust Gadshill either and calls him a "false thief."
(2.2.1) Enter PRINCE, PETO, and [BARDOLPH, with] POINS [following just behind].
     Falstaff enters and curses Poins to the Prince for hiding his horse declaring, "a plague upon it when thieves cannot be true to one another!" The Prince makes fun of Falstaff, calling him "fat-guts"; while they banter back and forth, Gadshill enters and says that eight to ten targets are approaching. The Prince tells Gadshill, Peto, Bardolph, and Falstaff to approach from one direction and that he and Poins will take another, to cut off possible escape. The four thieves attack, tie up and rob the travellers. Then the Prince and Poins appear (wearing disguises) and rob the four thieves without much of a struggle, laughing later about how Falstaff was sweating.
(2.3.1) Enter HOTSPUR, solus, reading a letter.
     Hotspur is reading a letter which says the correspondent would love to join their rebellion against the King, but thinks it is too dangerous. Hotspur is expostulating, quoting from the letter and making derisive comments, saying, "'Zounds, an I were now by this rascal, I could brain him with his lady's fan. Is there not my father, my uncle and myself? lord Edmund Mortimer, My lord of York and Owen Glendower? is there not besides the Douglas? have I not all their letters to meet me in arms by the ninth of the next month?"
(2.3.35) Enter his LADY.
     Hotspur's wife enters asking him why she is banished from his bed, why he appears so pale, and why he is so obsessed with warfare—even in his dreams. His wife wants to know what is going on, but Hotspur refuses to tell her anything. Kate questions his love in order to get him to talk, but that does not work either; Hotspur declares, "Thou wilt not utter what thou doest not know." Finally Hotspur relents to appease his wife and says, "Whither I go, thither shall you go too; / Today will I set forth, tomorrow you."
(2.4.1) Enter PRINCE and POINS.
     The Prince has been drinking with the staff and wants Poins to help him while away the time until Falstaff arrives by having a little fun with Francis, a waiter's assistant with a limited vocabulary. Poins continually calls, "Francis" from another room while the Prince bombards him with questions and absurdities, which has the expected result: Francis' total confusion. The Prince also makes fun of Hotspur who he says can kill a few dozen Scotsmen before lunch, wash his hands and say to his wife, "Fie upon this quiet life. I want work!"
(2.4.112) Enter FALSTAFF, [GADSHILL, BARDOLPH, and PETO; FRANCIS following with wine].
     Falstaff (along with the rest of the thieves) enters and the real fun begins when the Prince pulls out of Falstaff several versions of the robbery where the number of opponents ranges from two to one hundred. The Prince catches Falstaff in a lie when he says the uniforms were green, but that it was too dark to see his hand. Finally the Prince reveals that he has witnessed the actual robbery plus robbing the robbers of their booty. The joking and bantering between Falstaff and the Prince continues with both playing various parts, which everyone enjoys, while a summons for the Prince arrives from King Henry. Later the sheriff comes to the house looking for Falstaff as a robbery suspect and Prince Henry says he will send Falstaff to see him tomorrow.
     At a strategy meeting of the rebels, Glendower says that an earthquake occurred when he was born, and Hotspur expresses his disbelief; Glendower elaborates upon the events of his birth, declaring, "I am not in the roll of common men." Mortimer tries to moderate Hotspur's retorts, saying "Peace, cousin Percy; you will make him mad." They get out the map of their future spoils which divides the land equally among Glendower, Mortimer and Hotspur. Hotspur complains about the terrain of his part and Glendower replies that he will not allow any changes to the map. Mortimer admonishes Hotspur, "Fie, cousin Percy! how you cross my father!" Hotspur says that his claims to greatness got on his nerves. Mortimer replies that his father thinks highly of Hotspur, as no other man would have gotten away with his impertinence. Worcester agrees with Mortimer; Hotspur admits they are right.
(2.4.189) Enter GLENDOWER with the LADIES.
    The wives enter with Glendower. Mortimer's wife does not speak English and Mortimer does not speak Welsh, so Glendower translates for his son, telling him not to spoil her with compliments, as she will lose her mind contemplating his imminent departure for battle. She tells him to put his head in her lap while she sings him a Welsh song. Hotspur urges his own wife to sing to him, but Kate flatly refuses, even though he is to leave for battle within two hours.
(3.2.1) Enter the KING, PRINCE OF WALES, and others.
     King Henry rebukes Prince Henry for his degenerate behaviour which is decidedly not royal de rigueur. The King continues to berate his son for his lack of accomplishments and even shakes Hotspur's accomplishments in his son's face, even though King Henry is well aware of Hotspur's betrayal: Hotspur's conspiracy is the underlying reason for the King's heart-to-heart with Prince Henry, as the crown needs allies now more than ever. Harry vows loyalty to his King, temperance, and revenge against Hotspur declaring, "And I will die a hundred thousand deaths/Ere break the smallest parcel of this vow."
(3.2.161) Enter BLUNT.
    Sir Walter Blunt enters with the news that Mortimer has sent the location and date of the conspirators' meeting; King Henry says that the Earl of Westmoreland departed today with his third son, Prince Lancaster, that Prince Henry is to depart Wednesday and "ourselves" (the king himself) will leave Thursday for Bridgenorth where the forces will gather.
(3.3.1) Enter FALSTAFF and BARDOLPH.
     Falstaff jokes about how thin he has become since the heist, then Bardolph suggests that Falstaff has so wasted away that he may not have long to live, and so begins much more hilarious bantering about drinking and fatness. The Hostess enters to defend the honor of her establishment, denying that she or anyone else who works there has robbed Falstaff, which changes the focus of Falstaff's mockery to the hostess's womanhood and honesty.
(3.3.87) Enter the PRINCE marching [with PETO,] and FALSTAFF meets him playing on his truncheon like a fife.
     Prince Henry arrives and chides Falstaff for calling an honest woman a liar and promises Mistress Quickly that he will cover Falstaff's debts. He then commands Bardolph to deliver two letters—one to his brother, John of Lancaster, and the other to Westmoreland. The Prince then commands Falstaff to meet him tomorrow and declaims, "The land is burning; Percy stands on high; / And either we or they must lower lie."
     Hotspur and the Earl of Douglas are complimenting one another, to seal their pre-battle bond to one another. A messenger enters with a letter from Hotspur's father which says that he is too ill for battle, and that no one but himself can lead his forces, but that Hotspur should proceed because the king already knows of the revolt. The Earl of Worcester is worried about their numbers and what others will think if Hotspur's father does not support their effort. Hotspur and the Earl of Douglas tell him not to worry. Hotspur's cousin Vernon comes in with opposition troop strength numbers, adding that Prince Henry and his bunch are "as full of spirit as the month of May." They stop his discourse, but he has more bad news: Glendower is delayed. With their reduced forces they will potentially face forty thousand opponents. Hotspur concludes, "Doomsday is near; die all, die merrily."
    Falstaff admits to the audience that the soldiers he has been paid to gather for Prince Henry are a pathetic, raggedy bunch. Westmoreland calls them "beggarly" and Prince Henry "pitiful," but all except Falstaff are in a hurry, as the King is already encamped, and so ride on. Falstaff lags behind, not at all in a hurry to do battle.
    In the rebel camp, just before the decisive battle, both Worcester and Vernon advise Hotspur to delay battle until morning. The Douglas then turns up the volume when he tells Vernon, "You do not counsel well: / You speak it out of fear and cold heart." Vernon postures saying tomorrow's battle will be the best test of who is fearful. They argue about the number and readiness of the horses on both sides, but all retain their original opinions: Hotspur and the Douglas want to fight "tonight" and the others want to wait until morning. Then a trumpet sounds, and Sir Walter Blunt enters with a pre-battle peace package from the King. The peace offers includes the resolution of grievances and pardons for all, but Hotspur is indignant and flies into a raging rant. He digs up the past, saying the king would not be king if it were not for him, his father and his uncle. Hotspur works himself up by describing the oaths and promises broken. Sir Walter Blunt impatiently asks Hotspur if his rant is his reply to the King's offer. At this, Hotspur backs down a bit and says that he will send his uncle in the morning with his reply.
    The Archbishop of York is sending urgent letters by Sir Michael, but pauses to ponder the outcome of tomorrow's battle and the fate of the thousands involved: he fears that the rebels do not have the troop strength to succeed against the King.
    In the early dawn of a blustery day, Worcester comes as emissary from the rebels. King Henry gives Worcester one last chance to accept his peace terms, but Worcester recounts past grievances and broken promises galore. Then Prince Henry intervenes and makes a gallant offer. After proclaiming his respect for the leader of the rebels, Hotspur, he offers to settle the whole issue in single battle with Hotspur. The King supports this proposal, and dismisses Worcester. Once Worcester is gone, the Prince says of the peace offer: "It will not be accepted, on my life: / The Douglas and the Hotspur both together / Are confident against the world in arms."
(5.1.120) Exeunt. Manent Prince, Falstaff.
    Everyone except Prince Henry and Falstaff rides off to begin the march into battle. Falstaff expresses fear of the coming battle, but the Prince replies, "Why, thou owest God a death," then follows the others. Falstaff tarries once again, considering the nature of honour with more wit than earnestness.
    The Earl of Worcester urges Vernon not to tell Hotspur of the King's generous peace offer, explaining that they will never get rid of their traitorous reputations: Vernon agrees to confirm anything Worcester says. When Hotspur asks about their meeting with the King, Worcester takes lying to new levels, prevaricating about the entire tone of their encounter and saying that the King "calls us rebels, traitors; and will scourge / With haughty arms this hateful name in us." So Hotspur believes that a battle is inevitable, and soon it is; a messenger arrives to warn of the King's approach, so Hotspur huddles with his men, urging them to battle with brave and fateful words.
(5.3.1) The KING enters with his power [and passes over]. Alarm to the battle. Then enter DOUGLAS and SIR WALTER BLUNT.
    Sir Walter Blunt, dressed like the king as a decoy, encounters the Earl of Douglas who mistakes him for the King. Blunt affirms his royal identity, and the Douglas orders him to give himself up as prisoner, but Blunt refuses to yield. They fight and Douglas kills Blunt. Hotspur enters and fawns over Douglas' fighting skills, but informs him that he has killed Sir Walter Blunt, not the king. The Douglas swears to hunt down all the king's impersonators until he finds the king.
(5.3.29) [Exeunt.] Alarm. Enter FALSTAFF solus.
     After Hotspur and The Douglas have gone off to rejoin the battle, Falstaff comes in and discovers Blunt's body and reveals that all but three of his "ragamuffins" are also dead. Prince Henry enters and asks Falstaff to lend him his sword. Falstaff replies that he needs it to defend himself, but the Prince can have his pistol. However the only thing in Falstaff's holster is a bottle of sack, which the Prince throws back at Falstaff, not appreciating the joke during battle.
(5.4.1) Alarm. Excursions. Enter the KING, the PRINCE [wounded], LORD JOHN OF LANCASTER, and EARL OF WESTMORELAND.
     The King is concerned because the Prince is wounded and tells him to withdraw from the battle. He tells the Prince's younger brother, John of Lancaster, to also withdraw from the battle, but Lancaster wishes to keep on fighting, and protests, "Not I, my lord, unless I did bleed too." The King then asks Westmoreland to accompany his son, but the Prince says his wound is only a "shallow scratch," unimportant on this urgent battlefield. As soon as Lancaster and Westmoreland leave for battle, the Prince and the King compliment Lancaster's spirit; Prince Henry declares his brother "Lends mettle to us all!" as he exits to battle.
(5.4.24) [Enter DOUGLAS.]
    The Earl of Douglas appears and asks the king if he is another counterfeit king. King Henry replies that The Douglas just got lucky, happening along when he is alone, and immediately challenges him to battle. As they fight, Prince Henry arrives and takes over the battle for his father, and chases away The Douglas. King Henry is pleased, saying that Prince Henry does care for his King's life— contrary to rumor. The Prince decries those who have said he cared not for his father's life, pointing out that if he had not intervened the Douglas would have killed him— all he would have had to do was watch, so prince and king are reconciled.
(5.4.58) Enter HOTSPUR.
     Hotspur appears as King Henry exits, insulting the Prince, who declares, "Two stars keep not their motion in one sphere" and Hotspur retorts that "the hour has come / To end the one of us." They fight and Hotspur falls, saying that "brittle life" is easier given up than the titles the Prince has won of him, and that these thoughts hurt more than his deadly wounds, "But thought's the slave of life, and life time's fool . . ." The Prince finishes Hotspur's dying sentence for him and then mourns Hotspur's life, saying "When that this body did contain a spirit, / A kingdom for it was too small a bound."
(5.4.101) He spieth Falstaff on the ground.
     Next the Prince spots Falstaff, who's feigning death in order to avoid a fight with The Douglas. The Prince mourns the loss of his fat friend and leaves. Falstaff arises after the Prince has left, excusing himself by declaring, "The better part of valour is discretion; in the which better part I have saved my life." After more witticisms, he decides to stab dead Hotspur and claim his slaying for himself. The Prince, returning with John of Lancaster, is much surprised to see Falstaff alive and puzzled by his account of Hotspur's death, but he doesn't expose Falstaff's lie, saying to Lancaster, "The trumpet sounds retreat; the day is ours. / Come, brother, let us to the highest of the field, / To see what friends are living, who are dead."
     The King rebukes the rebel Worcester for his failure to negotiate, and blames him for the current bloodshed. He sentences Worcester and Vernon to death and they are taken away. The Prince then asks his father's permission to "dispose of" The Douglas; the King agrees and the Prince proceeds to grant The Douglas freedom for the valour he has shown, because valour needs to be acknowledged, even in an enemy. The King orders Lancaster and Westmoreland north for battle, while he and the Prince "will towards Wales" to confront Glendower. The King is determined that "Rebellion in this land shall lose its sway."