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Henry IV Part 1

Henry IV Part 1


by William Shakespeare

Henry IV Part 1 Rules and Order Quotes

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

Quote #1

What think you, coz,
Of this young Percy's pride? the prisoners
Which he in this adventure hath surprised
To his own use he keeps, and sends me word
I shall have none but Mordake, Earl of Fife. (1.1.90-94)

King Henry admires Hotspur's courage on the battlefield and his taking of noble prisoners, despite the fact that Hotspur is insubordinate by denying the king's rights to the captives. (Kings had first dibs on all war prisoners, especially those who could fetch a hefty ransom.) A few lines later, King Henry will lament that his son, Prince Hal, acts like a rebellious brat whose embarrassing antics threaten the safety of the kingdom (the prince is set to inherit the throne). Henry, of course, doesn't realize that Hotspur is the real threat. As we know, the young Percy will lead the rebellion against the king.

Quote #2

This is his uncle's teaching. This is Worcester,
Malevolent to you in all aspects,
Which makes him prune himself, and bristle up
The crest of youth against your dignity. (1.1.95-98)

Henry believes Worcester's a bad influence on Hotspur and we think he may have a point. Although the young Percy challenges King Henry's authority all on his own (by denying the king his war prisoners, by talking back, etc.), Worcester seems to manipulate his nephew's penchant for honor at every turn. So, what do you think? Is there evidence in the play that Worcester plays puppet master? Take a very close look at Act 1, Scene 3 (where the Percys first talk about rebellion) and get back to us on this.

Quote #3

Thou art so fat-witted, with drinking of old
sack and unbuttoning thee after supper and
sleeping upon benches after noon, that thou hast
forgotten to demand that truly which thou wouldst
truly know. What a devil hast thou to do with
the time of the day? Unless hours were cups of
sack, and minutes capons, and clocks the tongues
of bawds, and dials the signs of leaping-houses,
and the blessed sun himself a fair hot wench in
flame-colored taffeta, I see no reason why thou
shouldst be so superfluous to demand the time
of the day. (1.2.2-13)

When Hal berates Falstaff for asking what time it is, he points out that Falstaff spends all his time eating, drinking, whoring, and sleeping. In other words, Falstaff is the very embodiment of riot and disorder. Literary critics frequently link Falstaff's character to "carnival." Carnival is a religious festival season that celebrated the inversion of social order and the indulgence of unruly and riotous behavior. Like Mardi Gras, it was seen as a temporary way for commoners to cut loose and thumb their noses at authority, without getting into trouble. In Elizabethan England, during the Feast of Fools, a "Lord of Misrule" was often appointed to reign over the festivities, which included drinking, eating, and raucous theatrical productions, much like what goes on at the Boar's Head Tavern, where Falstaff reigns supreme.

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