Henry IV Part 2
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Why is Rumour here?
I run before King Harry's victory;
Who in a bloody field by Shrewsbury
Hath beaten down young Hotspur and his troops,
Quenching the flame of bold rebellion
Even with the rebel's blood. (Induction)
Although King Henry IV's army has been victorious at the battle at Shrewsbury, "quenching the flame of bold rebellion" (by dousing it with the rebels' blood, no less), Henry's still got some major problems to deal with. The Archbishop of York is leading another rebellion against the king. Not only that, but wild rumors are circulating throughout the kingdom, which is very much in turmoil.
Sir, here comes the nobleman that committed the
Prince for striking him about Bardolph. (1.2.4)
Here, Falstaff's Page tells us that the Lord Chief Justice once threw Prince Hal in the slammer for boxing him on the ears. Why does this matter? Well, it establishes the Lord Chief Justice as a foil to rowdy Falstaff, who has been a mentor to Hal's riotous ways in Henry IV Part 1. We wonder what will happen to the Lord Chief Justice when Hal becomes king…
The question then, Lord Hastings, standeth thus;
Whether our present five and twenty thousand
May hold up head without Northumberland?
With him, we may.
Yea, marry, there's the point:
But if without him we be thought too feeble,
My judgment is, we should not step too far
Till we had his assistance by the hand;
For in a theme so bloody-faced as this
Conjecture, expectation, and surmise
Of aids uncertain should not be admitted.
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
'Tis very true, Lord Bardolph; for indeed
It was young Hotspur's case at Shrewsbury. (1.3.1)
In Henry IV Part 1, Hotspur led a bold and reckless charge against the king, running headlong into battle without sufficient preparation or support. In Part 2, we see a very different strategy. The rebel leaders proceed with much more caution. Here, Lord Bardolph and York deliberate about whether or not they have a chance against the king's army without the additional support of Northumberland's troops. Later, when the rebels confront Prince John's army, they agree to call a truce before any blood is shed. Of course, the rebel leaders are arrested soon after. Still, the rebellion is decidedly anti-climatic, don't you think?