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Henry IV Part 1 Gender Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Norton edition.

Quote #4

Why, what a wasp-stung and impatient fool
Art thou to break into this woman's mood,
Tying thine ear to no tongue but thine own! (1.3.244-246)

In the play, Hotspur is frequently compared to an out of control woman. Here, Northumberland accuses him of being impatient, of having a big mouth, and being unable to listen to the ideas of others, which marks him as unruly, effeminate, and dangerous. Obnoxious, we know. Check out "Language and Communication" for more on this.

Quote #5

My daughter weeps; she will not part with you.
She'll be a soldier too, she'll to the wars. (3.1.200-201)

In light of Hotspur's previous remarks about a "certain lord" on the battlefield, we can imagine Hotspur's reaction to Glendower's remark (here) that Lady Mortimer would follow her beloved husband to war, just to be with him.

Quote #6

O my good lord, why are you thus alone?
For what offence have I this fortnight been
A banished woman from my Harry's bed?
Tell me, sweet lord, what is 't that takes from thee
Thy stomach, pleasure, and thy golden sleep?
Why dost thou bend thine eyes upon the earth,
And start so often when thou sit'st alone?
Why hast thou lost the fresh blood in thy cheeks
And given my treasures and my rights of thee
To thick-eyed musing and cursed melancholy? (2.3.39-48)

It's pretty clear that Hotspur's relationship with his wife, Kate, suffers because of his preoccupation with warfare. We also notice that Kate is rather bold – she's not afraid to assert her desire for sex when she insists on knowing why Hotspur rejects her "treasures" and her marriage "rights." (Kate's getting Biblical here and alludes to St. Paul's insistence in his letter to the Corinthians that husbands and wives owe each other a mutual "debt" in Corinthians 7:3-5.) Kate (like all women in the play) is a marginalized figure, but she's also witty, sharp, and, as we see here, outspoken and confident. Some critics note that she's a more likable and subdued version of Katherine Minola in Taming of the Shrew. (Shakespeare has a thing for naming outspoken female characters "Kate.")

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