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Henry IV Part 1

Henry IV Part 1


by William Shakespeare

Henry IV Part 1 Language and Communication Quotes

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

Quote #10

O, Harry, thou hast robbed me of my youth.
[…] O, I could prophesy,
But that the earthy and cold hand of death
Lies on my tongue. No, Percy, thou art dust,
And food for—                                                    He dies
For worms, brave Percy. Fare thee well, great heart. (5.4.78; 85-89)

When Hal defeats Hotspur in battle and asserts himself as rightful heir to the throne, it's not surprising that Prince Hal literally gets the last word. Here, we're interested in the way Hal completes young Percy's final sentence after Hotspur dies. If we recall Hotspur's vehement insistence on the importance and power of language in matters of rebellion in Act 1, his inability to complete his very last phrase on earth becomes all the more dramatic. And, as cliché as it may sound, the play suggests that, in the end, death is the ultimate silencer.

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