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

Summary

The scene is another part of the forest. From one side enter Mowbray, Archbishop, Hastings and others and from the other side John of Lancaster, Westmoreland, and officers and attendents. Lancaster greets Mowbray and York. The Prince deplores the fact that the chief among the enemies of the crown is York. He is seen not as a holy man but as an iron man in armor, “Turning the word to sword and life to death.” He should be actually sitting within the King’s heart and prosper in the sunshine of his favor. But instead, he is abusing the King.


John accuses York of having misused the reverence of his place and of engaging in dishonorable deeds. York should be studying God’s book and be God’s voice, and he should open the gates of heaven to the people. York says that he is not an enemy of the King. He is forced to be in this position by circumstances and he deeply regrets it. Once again he repeats that the Court did not consider the grievances which he had sent. If those “most just and right desires” are honored, they will be loyal to the King. Mowbray says that if their rights are not considered they are ready to fight to the last man. Hastings adds that they have reinforcements to back up their demands and warns that if they fail, their family members will take up the quarrel and extend it from generation to generation. The Prince says that he is very much pleased with the grievances and pleads that his father should not be blamed for the injustices done. Some officials must have misused their authority and the people have misunderstood the royal intentions. The Prince vows that “these griefs shall be with speed redress’d.” If the rebel leaders are satisfied, he continues, let the armies be dispersed at once and let peace and friendship be restored. York believes the Prince and agrees to disperse the army. He orders a captain to go and deliver the news to the rebel leaders and he says “let them have pay and part.” The opposition leaders reconcile and exchange courtesies. The Prince orders his troops to disperse. Suddenly Westmoreland announces the arrest of Hastings, Mowbray, and York. They protest violently against the Prince for not keeping his word but he says that he had pledged only the redress of grievances and that pledge he will keep, but the three rebel leaders will have to receive punishments which await traitors.

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