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MonkeyNotes-Henry IV, Part 1 by William Shakespeare
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Act I, Scene 3

Summary

The scene shifts to Windsor castle, where the proposed meeting between the king and the Percies is going on. The king chastises them, and Worcester tells the king that they do not deserve such treatment, for it was with their help that he became king. The king orders him out and Northumberland tells the king that there was a misunderstanding over the prisoners and that his son meant no disrespect.

Hotspur then tells the king that after the battle, a prissy messenger for the king had come, acted snootily, insulted his soldiers, and demanded his prisoners. In his exhaustion and anger at this "poppinjay" (51), he must have misspoke. Sir Walter Blunt speaks up for Hotspur and suggests that the matter should be forgotten.

Henry announces that Hotspur is still withholding the prisoners and is doing so in order to force Henry to ransom Mortimer, Hotspur's brother-in-law. Henry declares Mortimer to be a foolish traitor and refuses to ransom him. After all, how can he be trusted, when he has married the enemy Glendower’s daughter? When Hotspur defends Mortimer, Henry sternly orders him to hand over the captives and leaves with his retinue.


Hotspur is furious and declares that he will disobey the king, and his father urges him to be calm. Worcester then re-enters and the three talk of the events leading up to the current crisis. Hotspur learns from his father that Richard II had chosen Mortimer, the Earl of March, as his successor. Hotspur can understand how Henry thus hates Mortimer, but he is indignant at how his family has been shamed by being responsible for Richard's death and then further insulted by Henry's ingratitude.

Worcester begins speaking of a dangerous plan he has that will satisfy Hotspur. Hotspur is so excited that he keeps interrupting and has to be calmed down by his father before his uncle can speak. Worcester then proceeds to elaborate the plan: Hotspur will turn over the prisoners; meanwhile the Percies will ally themselves with Douglas, Glendower, and Mortimer and soon confront the king.

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