Study Guide

Henry IV Part 2 Act 4, Scene 3

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Act 4, Scene 3

Read the full text of Henry IV Part 2 Act 4 Scene 3 with a side-by-side translation HERE.

  • The scene continues at Gaultree Forest, where Falstaff, a Captain in the king's army, encounters the rebel, Coleville.
  • Falstaff calls Coleville a traitor and tells him he better get used to the idea of living in a dungeon, because that's where traitors end up.
  • Coleville is literally shaking in his boots and asks "Are you Falstaff?"
  • Falstaff replies that he's as good a man as Falstaff so Coleville better submit, ASAP, unless he wants a beating.
  • Coleville drops to his knees and surrenders.
  • Prince John, Westmoreland, and John Blunt arrive with their posse of nobles and soldiers.
  • Prince John demands to know where the heck Falstaff has been this whole time. He's sick and tired of Falstaff's shenanigans. Sooner or later, Falstaff's going to get himself hanged.
  • Falstaff responds that Prince John's got a lot of nerve. Falstaff rushed to Gaultree Forest just as soon as he possibly could. (As if he hadn't been messing around in a tavern with Doll Tearsheet or anything.)
  • Falstaff continues to say that, when he arrived at Gaultree, he fought valiantly against Coleville, "a most furious knight and valorous enemy." Falstaff caps off his story by comparing himself to Julius Caesar and then quoting, "I came, I saw, and overcame."
  • History Snack: In 47 B.C. Julius Caesar addressed the Roman senate after his victory in the Battle of Zela. He summed things up by saying Veni, vidi, vici, which is Latin for "I came, I saw, I conquered." Recall that the rebel Lord Bardolph referred to Julius Caesar back in Act 1, Scene 1.
  • Prince John's not buying anything Falstaff's selling, including the aforementioned bologna.
  • Falstaff, as we know, is out of control and continues on, insisting that his heroic deeds should be published. In fact, he might just commission a ballad (a kind of newsletter that reports gossip and news stories) complete with a picture of Coleville kissing his, Falstaff's, foot. And furthermore, Prince John and the others look like a bunch of phonies compared to Falstaff, who deserves a reward for his heroism, etc.
  • Prince John ignores Falstaff, turning his attention instead to ordering the execution of Coleville.
  • Prince John then sends Westmoreland ahead to King Henry IV's castle to deliver the great news to the ailing king, who might find comfort in the victory over the rebels.
  • All but Falstaff ride off, leaving our man on stage to deliver a speech about his favorite beverage, wine.
  • Falstaff's speech goes something like this: Prince John doesn't like me much but that's no wonder because the guy doesn't drink wine, which is also the reason why Prince John didn't turn out to be a man. Instead, he suffers from "greensickness" (an anemic condition thought to affect young girls during puberty). In other words, Prince John is acting like a girl. If he had been a big wine drinker like me, he would have turned out to be a valiant man. Also, Prince Hal would have been a wimp like his father if he hadn't taken a liking to drinking wine, which made him "hot and valiant." If I had sons of my own, the first thing I'd teach them about is the importance of becoming "addicted" to wine.
  • Bardolph shows up and Falstaff says they should return home to London. But first, they should make a pit-stop in Gloucestershire so Falstaff can swindle Justice Shallow and Justice Silence.

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