Henry IV Part 2 Theme of Rules and Order
In Henry IV Part 2, the king's reign continues to be troubled by civil rebellion. The difference, however, is that the rebel leaders proceed with more caution than we saw in Part 1 (mostly because the impetuous Hotspur has been killed). The rebels' careful deliberation, however, doesn't prevent them from being suppressed – Prince John easily tricks them into laying down their arms before any battles can be waged. The riotous antics of Falstaff continue in Part 2 and Shakespeare introduces new and rowdy characters (like Pistol and Doll Tearsheet) who thumb their noses at authority. However, Prince Hal doesn't participate much in the revelry, as he looks forward to his future as king. By the play's end, order is restored – the rebels are put to death and Falstaff is banished by his beloved Hal as the play looks forward to civil order and unity.
Questions About Rules and Order
- How is the civil rebellion resolved in this play?
- In Henry IV Part 1, Prince Hal spent most of his time carousing with his raucous Eastcheap companions. How does Hal behave in Part 2?
- Why doesn't Mistress Quickly want Pistol in the Boar's Head Tavern? What happens when Pistol is allowed inside?
- What happens to Falstaff after Hal becomes King Henry V?
Chew on This
In Henry IV Part 2, Doll Tearsheet and Mistress Quickly are more dangerous to the commonwealth than the rebel army.
By banishing Falstaff, Hal proves he's ready and willing to restore civil order and uphold justice in England.