Study Guide

Henry V Act 2, Scene 3

By William Shakespeare

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Act 2, Scene 3

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

  • Back in the seedy underworld of Eastcheap, Pistol tells us point blank that Falstaff "is dead."
  • We find out that Falstaff died of some kind of dreadful venereal disease. (Eww.)
  • Bardolph, Mistress Quickly, and Pistol are completely crushed because they think Falstaff was the greatest guy of all time. (We have to admit that we're a little bummed about this too.)
  • Bardolph and his crew discuss whether or not the old knight is in heaven or hell, and whether or not he swore off women and booze on his deathbed.
  • Mistress Quickly describes the agony of Falstaff's final moments when he cried out to "God" and babbled about "sack" (wine) and the "Whore of Babylon."
  • Quickly tells us that Falstaff was ice cold as he lay in his bed. (She ought to know because she "felt to his knees, and so upward and upward, and all was cold as any stone." Yep, that's a dirty joke, all right.)
  • After a few minutes, Pistol, Nim, and Bardolph decide that they've grieved enough. It's time to set off for the war in France.
  • P.S. Shakespeare scholar and Falstaff fan Harold Bloom (a.k.a. "Bloomstaff") has never quite forgiven Shakespeare for killing off this beloved character. Still, he does admit that that Shakespeare had to get rid of Falstaff. Otherwise, the larger-than-life figure would have caused the play to "break apart." Go to "Characters: Falstaff" for more on this.

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