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

Summary

The scene takes place at Westminster palace. Warwick greets the Lord Chief Justice of England. Coming to know that the King is dead, the Chief Justice wishes for his death also. When in the service of the King, he had made a number of enemies. Warwick knows that the Prince is strongly prejudiced against the Chief Justice. The Princes Lancester, Clarence, and Gloucester enter with Westmoreland. Warwick regrets that the new King has no similarity to his brothers and he expresses it openly. If Hal were like any one of his brothers, the nobles of the late King Henry IV would expect a bright future in England. The Chief Justice exclaims, “Oh, God, I fear all will be overturned.” They exchange greetings and then Gloucester and Lancaster express their sympathy for the Chief Justice. They say that the Chief Justice stands in coldest expectation. Clarence is sure that the Chief Justice can never approve of Falstaff and his ways. The Chief Justice says that he has done his duties as a legal official truthfully and impartially and that if the truth does not persist, he will join the King in death.

King Henry V enters with attendants. He notices that the brothers have an expression of fear and sorrow in their faces. He comforts them by saying that none should expect cruelty in his reign. He will be a father as well as a brother to them. They reply vaguely and he understands that they are not confident in him. He knows that the Chief Justice expects to be dismissed. When the Justice tells the King that he has not done anything to irritate or offend the latter, Henry reminds him how he, the heir to the throne of England, has been rebuked and imprisoned by the Chief Justice. The dignified and eloquent Chief Justice says that he has been a representative of the King’s Justice. When Prince Henry questioned it, he had no other choice but act accordingly so as to preserve justice, lawfully and honestly. If the new King wishes to reject him, he is welcome to do so; and with great dignity, the Chief Justice asks the King to bring the charges against him.


Now King Henry speaks in a very dignified manner. He praises the Chief Justice and approves of every word the latter has said. The new King asks the Justice to continue his service and to use his sword of justice boldly and impartially. He also addresses the Justice as the “father of his youth.” Henry assures his brothers that he is a changed man and his wildness has died with his father. He points out that many nobles had prophesied disorder and misrule in the state after his coming to the throne, but now he has proven that they were wrong. He lets them know of his decision to select only the best counselors and for this he gives the order for the assembly of the high court of Parliament. With them and the Chief Justice, he will make the government of England flawless and famous for its effectiveness and order.

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