Henry IV Part 2 is full of acts of deception. When the play opens, Rumour announces that it plans to "stuff" the ears of men with "lies." Soon after, Falstaff swindles Mistress Quickly out of money and breaks his promise to marry her. Prince John then deceives the rebel leaders at Gaultree Forest and sentences them to death for treason. We're also reminded that Prince Hal's public persona is built on a lie – he's been hiding behind a disguise since Henry IV Part 1. It seems that nobody in this play can be trusted (except, perhaps, the Lord Chief Justice, who seems to be the only straight-shooter in the entire lot). And it's no wonder, given that the monarch, King Henry IV, took a "crooked" path to the throne. Shakespeare makes us wonder if the only difference between the commoners and the nobility is that the nobles justify their deception as a form of "political strategy."
Rumour's opening speech about circulating unverified information and false reports is an appropriate beginning – the play is full of speculation and deception.
Falstaff's swindling of Mistress Quickly is a "low" and comedic parody of Prince John's political deception and betrayal of the rebels at Gaultree Forest – the only difference between Prince John and Sir John Falstaff is that Prince John justifies his actions as political "strategy."