Study Guide

Henry IV Part 2 Act 2, Scene 3

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Act 2, Scene 3

Read the full text of Henry IV Part 2 Act 2 Scene 3 with a side-by-side translation HERE.

  • Meanwhile, up at Warkworth castle in Northumberland, the Earl is in the middle of an intense conversation with his wife, Lady Northumberland, and his daughter-in-law, Lady Percy.
  • Northumberland gently asks his wife and daughter-in-law to stop pestering him about his affairs. He's got enough things to worry about as it is. (He is in the middle of a rebellion that isn't going so well, after all.)
  • Lady Northumberland says she gives up and she promises to keep her opinions to herself. Northumberland says his honor is at stake so she should cut him some slack.
  • Then we find out what the trio has been arguing about. Lady Percy, Hotspur's widow, tells Northumberland he's nuts if he goes to battle against the king and she doesn't care if he gave his word to the other rebel leaders. Then she reminds him that he didn't seem to have a problem breaking his word to his son when he failed to show up at the last battle (at Shrewsbury), which is where Hotspur was killed.
  • Lady Percy continues to lay on the guilt and says Hotspur was counting on his father to back him up and bring reinforcements but Northumberland left him hanging. It's all Northumberland's fault that Hotspur was killed. Northumberland has lost all of his "honour."
  • Lady Percy imagines that she would be in Hostpur's arms at this very moment if only Northumberland had kept his word and brought reinforcements to Shrewsbury.
  • Northumberland is completely ashamed.
  • Lady Northumberland chimes in and suggests that her husband should run away to Scotland until the rebels are more in control of the situation. When the coast is clear, Northumberland can come back to England.
  • Lady Percy agrees that her father-in-law can come back and offer the rebels additional support when it's safer. Then she reminds him it's his fault she's a widow.
  • Northumberland says it's hard to make up his mind but finally agrees to run away to Scotland until the rebels call on him for help.

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