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Quotes

Quote #1

[…] Hotspur's father, old Northumberland,
Lies crafty-sick: (Induction)

When Rumour says that Northumberland "lies crafty-sick" at Warkworth castle, we're reminded of the way the earl betrayed his son, Hotspur, by pretending to be too ill to help him fight at the battle at Shrewsbury, where Hotspur lost his life. As if to emphasize the familial betrayal, Rumour refers to the old man not simply as "Northumberland," but as "Hotspur's father." It's also important to note that the reference to Northumberland's betrayal of his son occurs at the beginning of the play, in the Induction, which tips us off that father-son relationships will be an important theme in the play.

Quote #2

[…] let order die!
And let this world no longer be a stage
To feed contention in a lingering act;
But let one spirit of the first-born Cain
Reign in all bosoms, that, each heart being set
On bloody courses, the rude scene may end,
And darkness be the burier of the dead! (1.1.12)

When Northumberland learns the news that his son, Hotspur, has been killed in battle, he calls for more rebellion and civil disorder – "let order die!" There's a whole lot to say about this passage but the point we want to make for our discussion of "Family" is this: the loss of his son incites Northumberland to call for the "spirit" of "Cain" to "reign" in the hearts of every man. Cain, as we know, is the firstborn son of Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis. He's also known for being the first person, ever, to commit murder (he killed his brother, Abel). So, when Northumberland imagines rebellion against the king, he imagines it as a form of domestic violence, which reminds the audience that civil strife is, in fact, a family affair.

Quote #3

FALSTAFF
[…] For the box of the ear that
the prince gave you, he gave it like a rude prince,
and you took it like a sensible lord. I have
chequed him for it, and the young lion repents;
marry, not in ashes and sackcloth, but in new silk
and old sack.
Lord Chief-Justice
Well, God send the prince a better companion!
FALSTAFF
God send the companion a better prince! I cannot
rid my hands of him.
Lord Chief-Justice
Well, the king hath severed you and Prince Harry: (1.2.26)

In Henry IV Part 1, Prince Hal rebelled against his father, King Henry IV, and took up with Falstaff, who became a kind of surrogate father figure to the prince by tutoring him in the wild ways of life in Eastcheap, London. Here, Falstaff sounds like a parent when he claims he put Hal in check when the prince "boxed" the LCJ on the ears. Falstaff did no such thing, of course – he's mocking the Lord Chief Justice, who knows that Falstaff is a bad influence on Hal. When the Lord Chief Justice points out that Hal and Falstaff have been "severed" or separated, we're alerted to the fact that Hal and Falstaff don't spend much time together in Part 2. In fact, Hal and Falstaff will only have one personal encounter (in Act 2, Scene 4) before Hal becomes King Henry V and banishes Falstaff altogether in Act 5. Here, it seems that Hal and Falstaff have already begun to grow apart. Is Shakespeare preparing the audience for Hal's painful rejection of Falstaff? Check out "Power" is you want to think about this some more.

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