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Henry IV Part 2

Henry IV Part 2


by William Shakespeare

 Table of Contents

Henry IV Part 2 Lies and Deceit Quotes

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

Quote #4

[…] But I tell
thee, my heart bleeds inwardly that my father is so
sick: and keeping such vile company as thou art
hath in reason taken from me all ostentation of sorrow.
What wouldst thou think of me, if I should weep?
I would think thee a most princely hypocrite.
It would be every man's thought; and thou art a
blessed fellow to think as every man thinks: never
a man's thought in the world keeps the road-way
better than thine: every man would think me an
hypocrite indeed. And what accites your most
worshipful thought to think so?
Why, because you have been so lewd and so much
engraffed to Falstaff. (2.2.8)

In Henry IV Part 1, Hal told us that he was playing the role of the bad-boy prince so he could stage a dramatic "reformation" when he became king, which would amaze everyone and endear him to his subjects. By the time we see Hal in Henry IV Part 2, it seems like he's trapped in the role he's created for himself. Although he's inwardly sad that his father is ill, he can't show his true feelings because he's created a "wild Prince" persona that everyone expects him to live up to. If Hal were to openly grieve for his father now, everyone would think he was a "hypocrite" and that his tears were disingenuous because he's spent so much time thumbing his nose at his father and hanging out with the likes of Falstaff.

Quote #5

My lord, this is a poor mad soul; and she says up
and down the town that the eldest son is like you:
she hath been in good case, and the truth is,
poverty hath distracted her. (2.1.5)

When Falstaff wants to discredit Mistress Quickly, who has filed a lawsuit against him, he lies to the Lord Chief Justice and claims that Mistress Quickly has been telling people the LCJ is the father of her child. Later in the play, Falstaff tries to discredit Poins when he lies to Prince Hal and claims that Poins has been telling everybody Hal is going to marry his sister. Are you noticing a pattern here? What's with Falstaff and all the lies about women and sexual relationships? Falstaff's as petty as an online gossip column. Falstaff, then, seems to be associated with the figure of Rumour, who also spends a lot of time spreading stories.

Quote #6

What is the gross sum that I owe thee?
Marry, if thou wert an honest man, thyself and the
money too. Thou didst swear to me
as I was washing thy wound, to marry me and make me my lady
thy wife. Canst thou deny it? […]
And didst thou not kiss me and bid me
fetch thee thirty shillings? I put thee now to thy
book-oath: deny it, if thou canst. (2.1.6)

Mistress Quickly files a lawsuit against Falstaff, who has borrowed a bunch of money that's never going to be repaid. Mistress Quickly also reveals that Falstaff broke his promise to marry her, even after she took care of him when he was wounded. We know Falstaff's not the most honest guy in the world but taking advantage of Mistress Quickly seems pretty despicable, don't you think? Is Shakespeare setting it up so that we don't get too sentimental when Falstaff is eventually banished by Hal?

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