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MonkeyNotes-Henry IV, Part 1 by William Shakespeare
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Act III, Scene 2

Summary

King Henry is holding court when Prince Hal arrives. He immediately dismisses his lords and turns towards his son. As Hal and Falstaff had anticipated, the king lectures Hal disapprovingly. He wonders out loud whether God is punishing him for some misdeed by giving him such an irresponsible son, and he chastises Hal for his lowly conduct and company.

Prince Hal admits that he has lapsed and asks forgiveness, although he claims that he has not been as bad rumor has it. The king then explains the state of affairs and his worries over Hal's behavior. Hal's younger brother has had to take his place at meetings and councils. Hal lacks the proper dignity of office; he is like Richard II, a "skipping king" who kept "shallow jesters" (62- 3), who ended up being scorned by his subjects. A similar fate will be in store for Hal if he does not change. The king contrasts his behavior with that of Hotspur, who currently seems a better heir to the throne than Hal, due to his bravery and leadership abilities. He even suggests that Hal is base enough to fight against him under Hotspur's pay.


Prince Hal vows to change and to redeem himself "on Percy's head" (137). The king then places the responsibility of leading royal forces on Halís shoulders. While this matter is being settled, Sir Walter Blunt enters and announces that the rebels have assembled their troops at Shrewsbury. The king tells Blunt that Westmoreland and Prince John are already leading an army to the battlefield. He goes on to explain that Hal and he will each lead an army and that all their combined forces will meet at Bridgenorth (a town near Shrewsbury) in twelve days.

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MonkeyNotes-Henry IV, Part 1 by William Shakespeare
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