| Quote #4
As Silence and Shallow enthusiastically recall the heady days of their youth, Falstaff agrees that, yes, they have "heard the chimes at midnight." Falstaff's words are poignant but he's also somewhat dismissive of these two men. Later, he complains that old men are the biggest "liars." He says "This / same starved justice hath done nothing to prate to / me of the wildness of his youth, and the feats he / hath done about Turnbull Street: and every third / word a lie" (3.2.39). Falstaff points out that old men often misremember the past and inject the days of their youth with a glory that wasn't actually there.
Brain snack: Falstaff's famous line lends itself to the title of Orson Welles's study of Falstaff's character, Chimes at Midnight, You can watch Welles's film adaptation of this scene on YouTube.
| Quote #5
As King Henry IV lay ill and the rebel forces gather against the king, Prince Hal expresses guilt for wasting time in a seedy tavern with commoners. His father doesn't have much time to live so Hal is running out of opportunities to come to terms with the king.
We can't help but notice the way this passage recalls Henry IV Part 1, where Hal says "I'll so offend, to make offence a skill; / Redeeming time when men think least I will" (1.2.29). In other words, Prince Hal, who wastes his time carousing with the commoners in Part 1, insists that his reformation (from a wild prince to a responsible monarch) will redeem the actions of his misspent youth. Here, in Part 2, however, Hal seems to be growing impatient and weary.
| Quote #6
This is one of the most pessimistic speeches in the play. Here, King Henry IV is full of despair. He sees the future as inevitably "fat[ed]" for apocalyptic ruin, where the mountains are leveled and the land "melts" into the sea. As he imagines a young man reading the "book of fate" and then giving up all hope of the future by sitting "down" to "die," he seems to be talking about himself. Although Henry is certainly no longer a "youth," he seems, like the young man in his story, to have given up all hope as he approaches his death. The speech continues below.