Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Henry IV, Act V, scene 5

Courtiers and Rebels: Post a comment about this scene. See the Act V scene 1 post for detailed instructions.


Blogger MeganF said...

3. I wonder what the King would have done if he had won the war, but Hotspur survived. Would he had him killed like his uncle, "Bear Worcester to the death, and Vernon too," (14) or would free him for a valiant effort like he did Douglas, "Go to the Douglas, and deliver him up to his pleasure, ransomless and free," (27-28)? The King seemed to admire Douglas' courage on the battlefield, but would he hold Hotspur in the same light? Sure, he was a great soldier and very honorable, but he committed treason. I think the King would have a very tough time figuring out what to do with Hotspur. Earlier in the play he longed for Hotspur to be his own son, but after the rebellion I wonder if all that respect was lost like it was with Worcester.

7:54 PM  
Blogger haley said...

3. I didn't really like how Shakespeare ended the play. It seemed to me that he wanted to end it quickly, so he just left out a well thought-out ending. I was just curious why he did this. I know there is a second part to the play, but it seems to me that this scene should have either been put in part 2, or Shakespeare should have written a better conclusion.

3:36 PM  
Blogger The Katie S. said...


I too wondered about the ending of the play. It's a Shakespearean convention to end a play with the next ruler of the kingdom and, in a sense, Hal is the next ruler and not his father. I know, also, that another play follows under the title of Henry the IV, but I didn't think it would matter. Why didn't Hal finish things up? I think it would have seriously changed the ending just because who says what is so important. I agree also that the ending seems rather brief and wonder if the addition of Part 2 makes this ending worthwhile. On the other hand, Shakespeare's play have always stood alone before. Was he in too much of a hurry to continue his line-up of the king plays? Personally, I'd say the only reason he clipped it short at the end is because the plays continue. Like with books in a trilogy, one forgets exactly how one of the books ends and continues on to the next because it's not until the third book of the three that the ending truly makes a difference. I'd like to see this hypothesis through by reading Henry IV, Part 2 because I would imagine it could either be exciting or escape another Shakespeare convention.

5:06 AM  
Blogger Jimmy N. said...

3. I thought the ending to the play was a bit weak. This may be because all I've read of shakespeare are his tradgedies, but I still think the ending lacked the same resolution and complete conclusion as the coronation of Hamlet or perhaps the graveyard scene in Romeo and Juliet. The ending of Henry IV had no real resolution. It ended before the final actions of the war were finished, before they had even taken the prisoners to the dungeons. I know there's a Henry IV part 2, but I still think that Shakespeare could have added more wrap-up and conclusion to part 1.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Nathan H said...

6. I thought it was interesting how Prince Henry and Lord John grew so close to each other throughout the battle and afterwards. My take was that each had doubts about the other's potential and ability before the rebellion. In the future, I think Prince Henry and Lord John will rely on each other more often and more fully than they had in the past. Before they were almost rivals, with the King comparing the younger John to Prince Henry and asking why John was taking princely responsibilities on himself when Henry should be caring for them. However, after the battle, Henry bestows of his responsibilities and honor on John willingly when he says, “Then, brother John of Lancaster, to you, this honorable bounty shall belong” when speaking about setting Douglas free. John responds with, “I thank your Grace for this high courtesy, which I shall give away immediately.” Both are very respectful and cordial to each other, a surprise after all of Henry's adventures with the pub-crawlers.

3:45 PM  
Blogger Betsy H said...

6. I also wanted to talk about the last quote that Prince Henry says in the play. He is talking to his brother, who, up to this point, we have no idea what their relationship was. He becomes an honorable brother for allowing his younger brother to take care of Douglas' release: "Then, brother John of Lancaster, to you this honorable bounty shall belong. Go to the Douglas, and deliver him up to his pleasure, ransomless and free. His valor shown upon our crests today hath taught us how to cherish such high deeds, even in the bosom of our adversaries"(lines 25-31). I found this very interesting because this is the very last thing Hal says in Part One, and he is allowing his younger brother to carry out a very respectable duty. I had no idea their relationship was like this. Did it change from how it was in the beginning because I thought John was always upset at Hal because he found himself a more valiant son.

5:42 PM  
Blogger Sarah E. said...

3. I was wondering what Shakespeare's purpose was in developing the seemingly odd relationship between King Henry, Hotspur, and Harry. At the beginning of the play Henry wishes that Hotspur be his son, even commenting on how he believes they were "switched at birth". However, at this point Henry praises his biological son for his strength in character. I understand that Harry's turn around was remarkable and noble, however I was wondering if Shakespeare emphasized his longing for Hotspur as a son earlier in the play solely to provide a more dramatic platform for Harry's restoration, or does anybody think there is a more symbolic meaning?
Perhaps some sort of message in judgement of character? Maybe Shakespeare is commenting on the common practice of "judging a book by its cover" during his time period? If so, I think that it is fascinating to see a man with very little formal education was able to identify so many of the social pitfalls of society and illustrate them in such an innovative fashion.

6:13 PM  
Blogger Sarah E. said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:18 PM  
Blogger Sarah E. said...


I agree, I was disapointed. In fact so much so that I decided to read up on what other critics thought of the ending. After doing so, I have a new perspective on the ending. What many of us may have, and I did, forget is that Henry IV is and first of two parts of Shakespeare's play. Therefore, I think that Shakespeare was trying to create a certain element of suspense in order to guarantee an audience for his next production because remember this was how he made his living. However, I am not sure that the conclusion of the play was all that suspenseful. I think that the ties Shakespeare leaves open are oftly "cookie-cutteresque" if you will. I think that there seems to be a pattern in Shakespeare's work in which there appears to be a let down of some sort in each play. Maybe Shakespeare, although a genius, was a human just like us and he suffered from the writer's block we often suffer from in writing conclusions. Although of all writers you would think that Shakespeare could be the one to "end with a bang, not a whimper"!

6:19 PM  
Blogger DanaitA said...

" Thus ever did rebellion find rebuke.-Ill-spirited Worcester, did not we send grace, pardon adn terms of love to all of you? And wouldst thou turn our offers contrary, Misuse the tenore of they kinsman's trust?" (1-5).

9:13 PM  
Blogger Aly A. said...

5. I enjoyed seeing the dynamics of the King's family in this scene. Previously, the king was always disappointed in Hal and moping about his bad behavior and never really focusing on John. He obviously wasn't that proud of John either if he longed so badly for such a noble son like Hotspur. In this final scene however, they all seem like they have come to means and accepted each other for who they are and now finally respect one another. Hal's generosity and respect towards his brother is shown when he tells him "Then, brother John of Lancaster, to you this honorable bounty shall belong. Go to the Douglas, and deliver him up to his pleasure, ransomless and free" (25-28). Hal was showing kindness to his brother and Douglas, making him and even more admirable character. Although the play doesn't end very dramatically, the characters at least end resolved and content with each other.

9:19 PM  
Blogger DanaitA said...

" Thus ever did rebellion find rebuke.-Ill-spirited Worcester, did not we send grace, Pardon, and terms of love to all of you? And wouldst thou turn our offers contrary, Misuse the tenor of thy kinsman's trust?" (1-5).

I like this quote from the king because it is a kind of reparation to WOrcester for having lied to Hotspur by not telling him about the King's offer. It is almost like in movies where at the end the bad guy gets what is coming to him, Worcester gets put to death for having indirectly caused the death of many other innocent people. This quote brings a resolution the the rebel problem because Worcester's execution brings a sort of justice to everythign that has happened.

9:19 PM  
Blogger Aly A. said...

Haley and Sarah-

Thanks for finding out the critic's insight on the ending, Sarah! I completely agree that Shakespeare was trying to create a hook and an element of suspense ending so unresolved and abruptly. Even though its not the most intense suspense, I think it serves its purpose well enough, because I'll admit, I was wondering what happens in the next battle with Mortimer and Glendower.

9:23 PM  
Blogger  said...

At first I thought, OK the ending is nothing special, but then I remembered that this is only Part I of Henry IV so I thought that might explain why it ended the way it did.
I also wondered why Shakespeare would have the King speak last (because doesn't he always have the person that becomes the new king speak last?) But then I remembered the "Part 1" so I then realized that it made sense because he is still the king at the beginning of part 2.

So basically my paraphrase of this scene is, "To be continued - go read Henry IV, Part II."

9:38 PM  
Blogger Matt L said...

3. I didn't mind the last scene. Sure it didn't have overly dramatic final lines or the usual literary fanfare with which we are accustomed. However, it did bring back the motifs of honor, bravery, and family loyalty. It also showed that there is more to the story. A dramatic tragic ending would not fit a history play because history continously unfolds. This ending also has marketing value for Shakespeare's theatre in that it leaves lose ends and people would come to see the conclusion of Henry IV. (I, a self proclaimed Shakespeare hater wouldn't mind reading part two in order to find out how the story ends.) This cliffhanger I guess is what is responsible for my questions. Why would Hal's brother appear only in this scene? And why is Douglass forgiven while the others are not?

9:39 PM  

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