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Henry IV Part 1 Power Quotes

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

Quote #7

In faith, my lord, you are too willful-blame,
And, since your coming hither, have done enough
To put him quite beside his patience.
You must needs learn, lord, to amend this fault.
Though sometimes it show greatness, courage,
And that's the dearest grace it renders you—
Yet oftentimes it doth present harsh rage,
Defect of manners, want of government,
Pride, haughtiness, opinion and disdain,
The least of which, haunting a nobleman,
Loseth men's hearts and leaves behind a stain
Upon the beauty of all parts besides,
Beguiling them of commendation. (3.1.182-195)

Here, Worcester lectures Hotspur for being rude to Glendower as the rebel leaders lay out a strategy to overthrow the king. This seems like a perfect passage to contrast Hotspur's behavior with Hal's in 2.4.2 above. Here, Worcester says that even though Hotspur is a valiant soldier, his impetuous and combative nature tends to alienate his colleagues. (Like the time Hotspur compares Glendower's birth to a fart. Check out "Language and Communication" for more on this.) At times, the play seems to value Hotspur for his frankness, explosive personality, and courage. (Remember, even King Henry admires Hotspur's boldness when he refuses to give the king his war prisoners.) At other times, we wonder if Hotspur is cut out for leadership. Worcester points out that Hotspur's "pride," "haughtiness," and "disdain" causes him to "loseth men's hearts" (3.1.181). We can't help compare this to Hal's calculating ability to get chummy with men from all walks of life, which may make him better suited to rule the country (2.4).

Quote #8

By being seldom seen, I could not stir
But like a comet I was wondered at;
That men would tell their children 'This is he.'
Others would say 'Where? Which is Bolingbroke?'
And then I stole all courtesy from heaven,
And dressed myself in such humility
That I did pluck allegiance from men's hearts,
Loud shouts and salutations from their mouths (3.2.48-55)

Here, King Henry lectures Prince Hal for spending too much time with commoners and advises him to be "seldom seen" so that, when he does appear in public, he'll be "wonder'd at." Henry (formerly called Bolingbroke) explains how he adopted this strategy before he became king and gained "allegiance from men's hearts." It's interesting to note that King Henry doesn't realize his son has actually adopted a similar (though certainly not an exact same) strategy. Although Henry never stages a dramatic "reformation" like Hal, he seems to have more in common with his son than he realizes. Both men control their public images by manipulating the subjects and inspiring awe and allegiance.

Quote #9

I fear thou art another counterfeit,
And yet, in faith, thou bearest thee like a king.
But mine I am sure thou art, whoe'er thou be,
And thus I win thee. (5.4.35-38)

At the battle of Shrewsbury several English soldiers dress in the king's coats as a method of diversion. This is a savvy maneuver to be sure, one that costs poor Walter Blunt his life when he is mistaken for the king by Douglas. When Douglas encounters the real king in this passage, it's impossible for him to tell whether or not Henry is a "counterfeit." This moment, much like the scene in the tavern where Falstaff and Hal take turns pretending to be Henry, seems to suggest that anyone can play the role of king, as long as they're willing to dress and act the part. With the right clothes (or costume), just about anyone can do it. Check out "Art and Culture" for more on this.

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