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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Quotes

Quote #7

PRINCE JOHN
I like them all, and do allow them well,
And swear here, by the honour of my blood,
My father's purposes have been mistook,
And some about him have too lavishly
Wrested his meaning and authority.
My lord, these griefs shall be with speed redress'd;
Upon my soul, they shall. If this may please you,
Discharge your powers unto their several counties,
As we will ours: and here between the armies
Let's drink together friendly and embrace,
That all their eyes may bear those tokens home
Of our restored love and amity.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
I take your princely word for these redresses. (4.2.3)

Pay close attention to what Prince John says here as he and the Archbishop of York reach a peace agreement. It sounds like Prince John is promising that things will be cool between the rebel leaders and the king's forces – they'll all be sipping cocktails and "embrac[ing]" as friends before the day is over. Now take a look at what happens in the passage below.

Quote #8

WESTMORELAND
Good tidings, my Lord Hastings; for the which
I do arrest thee, traitor, of high treason:
And you, lord archbishop, and you, Lord Mowbray,
Of capitol treason I attach you both.
MOWBRAY
Is this proceeding just and honourable?
WESTMORELAND
Is your assembly so?
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
Will you thus break your faith?
PRINCE JOHN
I pawn'd thee none:
I promised you redress of these same grievances
Whereof you did complain; which, by mine honour,
I will perform with a most Christian care.
But for you, rebels, look to taste the due
Meet for rebellion and such acts as yours. (4.2.6)

After cutting a deal with the rebel leaders, who agree to disarm if Prince John redresses their grievances, Westmoreland goes, "Ah ha! You're all under arrest!" So, we're thinking Mowbray makes a completely valid point when he asks if this "proceeding is just and honourable." You might want to revisit Prince John's promise at 4.2.3 (above) and then see if it jives with what he has to say in this passage. Is Prince John a "break[er] of faith"? If so, is he any different than the swindling Falstaff?

Quote #9

SHALLOW
Yea, Davy. I will use him well: a friend i' the
court is better than a penny in purse. Use his men
well, Davy; for they are arrant knaves, and will backbite. (5.1.7)

So much for the idea that things are simpler and less corrupt in the countryside (Gloucestershire) where Justice Shallow lives. When Shallow tells his servant that he plans to use Falstaff, who might have valuable connections at court, it seems that there's not a place in the entire country of England where corruption and deception don't exist.

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