Henry Iv Part 1 Act 2 Scene 3 Analysis Essay

King Henry IV, Part 1

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In the Spotlight

Quote in Context

So when this loose behavior I throw off,
And pay the debt I never promised,
By how much better than my word I am,
By so much shall I falsify men's hopes,
And like bright metal on a sullen ground,
My reformation, glittering o'er my fault,
Shall show more goodly, and attract more eyes,
Than that which hath no foil to set it off.
                                                         1 Henry IV (1.2)

Here Prince Hal reveals his plan to achieve popularity amongst the people he knows he will one day rule. Hal has every intention of leaving behind his life of wine and petty theft. His mischievous behaviour is merely part of a political maneuver to look as good as possible when he does finally gain power. His association with the likes of Falstaff allows him a connection to the common people that will be vital during his reign as Henry V. This passage foretells how successful Hal will be when he obtains the throne. In the words of Machiavelli: "experience shows us that in our times the rulers who have done great things are those who have set little store by keeping their word, being skillful rather in cunningly confusing men" (The Prince). Read on...

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LADY PERCY But hear you, my lord.

HOTSPUR What say’st thou, my lady?

LADY PERCY What is it carries you away? 80

HOTSPUR Why, my horse, my love, my horse.

LADY PERCY Out, you mad-headed ape!
A weasel hath not such a deal of spleen
As you are tossed with. In faith,
I’ll know your business, Harry, that I will. 85
I fear my brother Mortimer doth stir
About his title, and hath sent for you
To line his enterprise; but if you go—

HOTSPUR
So far afoot, I shall be weary, love.

LADY PERCY
Come, come, you paraquito, answer me 90
Directly unto this question that I ask.
In faith, I’ll break thy little finger, Harry,
An if thou wilt not tell me all things true.

HOTSPUR Away!
Away, you trifler. Love, I love thee not. 95
I care not for thee, Kate. This is no world
To play with mammets and to tilt with lips.
We must have bloody noses and cracked crowns,
And pass them current too.—Gods me, my horse!—
What say’st thou, Kate? What wouldst thou have 100
with me?

LADY PERCY
Do you not love me? Do you not indeed?
Well, do not then, for since you love me not,
I will not love myself. Do you not love me?
Nay, tell me if you speak in jest or no. 105

HOTSPUR Come, wilt thou see me ride?
And when I am a-horseback I will swear
I love thee infinitely. But hark you, Kate,
I must not have you henceforth question me
Whither I go, nor reason whereabout. 110
Whither I must, I must; and to conclude
This evening must I leave you, gentle Kate.
I know you wise, but yet no farther wise
Than Harry Percy’s wife; constant you are,
But yet a woman; and for secrecy 115
No lady closer, for I well believe
Thou wilt not utter what thou dost not know,
And so far will I trust thee, gentle Kate.

LADY PERCY How? So far?

HOTSPUR
Not an inch further. But hark you, Kate, 120
Whither I go, thither shall you go too.
Today will I set forth, tomorrow you.
Will this content you, Kate?

LADY PERCY It must, of force.

They exit.

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