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Character Role Analysis


Hotspur is the leader of the rebel forces and a major threat to the king's reign. Shakespeare is careful, however, not to make Hotspur a villain. At the play's outset, it's not clear that he's any different than King Henry, who once rebelled against and deposed King Richard II. As the play progresses, though, we see just how dangerous his impetuousness and thirst for "honour" is. His plan to divide the kingdom into three parts is also a serious threat to Britain's sense of unity, and suggests he's not fit to govern the kingdom. Hotspur has often been read as a "tragic hero." For more on this you should read our discussion of "Booker's Seven Basic Plots."