Henry IV, Part 1 - Stuff That Happens In The Play

STUFF THAT HAPPENS

BEFORE THE PLAY

 King Richard II yields his crown to his cousin, Bullingbrook, making him King Henry IV.

• King Henry sends Richard to Pomfret castle where he is eventually killed by Henry’s supporters.

• At the close of Richard II (the play chronologically preceding Henry IV, Part 1), the newly enthroned Henry IV promises to make a penitential trip to the Holy Land.

DURING THE PLAY

• King Henry meets with his advisers to discuss his proposed crusade to the Holy Land, but the discussion turns to new battles on England’s northern borders.

• In the north, England’s forces have prevailed over the Scots, but the young English nobleman Harry Percy (Hotspur) won’t turn over his prisoners to King Henry.

• The King mourns the wanton behavior of his own Harry, his son, the Prince of Wales.

• The King puts off the crusade and calls a meeting with the Percy family.

• Away from court, Prince Hal and Sir John Falstaff taunt each other after a night of drinking. Their cohort Poins attempts to enlist them in an upcoming robbery; after Falstaff leaves, Poins persuades Hal to rob and embarrass Falstaff; after Poins leaves, Hal tells the audience his plans for the future.

• King Henry meets with Hotspur, Hotspur’s father (Northumberland), and Hotspur’s uncle (Worcester)todemandthatHotspurgiveuphisprisoners. Hotspuragreestodosoonlyifthe KingwillransomMortimer(Hotspur’sbrother-in-law)fromcaptivityinWales. TheKingrefuses.

• Hotspur’s family members agree on a plot to depose the King that involves Douglas (a Scottish warrior) and Glendower (a self-proclaimed Welsh wizard).

• Falstaff and his confederates (Peto, Bardolph, and Gadshill) rob some travelers and are, in turn, robbed by the disguised Prince Hal and Poins.

• Hotspur reads a letter from a nobleman who refuses to join the rebellion against King Henry. Hotspur’s wife (Lady Percy) asks Hotspur what’s troubling him.

• At a tavern in Eastcheap, Falstaff exaggerates and lies about the robbery. A nobleman brings a summons for Hal from the King.

• In Wales, the rebels plan their campaign against the royal forces and discuss the division of the kingdom they have yet to win.

• Honor, cowardice, bravery, growing-up, and civil wars ensue.

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