Henry IV Part 2

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The Lord Chief Justice Character Analysis

Dignified, honorable, and unfailingly moral, the Lord Chief Justice is a powerful advisor in King Henry IV’s court who imprisons the raucous young Prince Hal for misbehavior. Though the Chief Justice expects King Henry V to lash out at him in revenge, he is pleasantly surprised to be treated by the new king with respect and appreciation.

The Lord Chief Justice Quotes in Henry IV Part 2

The Henry IV Part 2 quotes below are all either spoken by The Lord Chief Justice or refer to The Lord Chief Justice. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Simon & Schuster edition of Henry IV Part 2 published in 2006.
Act 1, Scene 2 Quotes

Do you set down your name in the scroll of youth, that are written down old with all the characters of age? Have you not a moist eye? a dry hand? a yellow cheek? a white beard? a decreasing leg? an increasing belly? is not your voice broken? your wind short? your chin double? your wit single? and every part about you blasted with antiquity? and will you yet call yourself young? Fie, fie, fie, Sir John! (155-160)

Related Characters: The Lord Chief Justice (speaker), Sir John Falstaff
Related Symbols: Sickness
Page Number: 1.2.181-189
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Falstaff--now an elderly, feeble man--tries to convince the Chief Justice, a local authority, that he's really young and healthy. In a bullying, aggressive tone, the Justice tells Falstaff that he's clearly old, fat, and weak.

It's important to note that the Justice's descriptions of Falstaff's body convey a sense of withering and shriveling up. In the past, Falstaff "inflated" himself with language and rhetoric--and yet his body itself seems to be getting smaller (except for his belly) as it approaches death. There's something heroic about Falstaff's attempts to deny his own weakness: he's like Don Quixote, using imagination (and delusion) to transcend his old age. And yet at the end of the day, Falstaff is delusional: he refuses to accept the cold, hard facts of his time and sickness.

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Act 5, Scene 2 Quotes

...what I did in honor,
Led by th’impartial conduct of my soul;
And never shall you see that I will beg
A ragged and forestalled remission.
If truth and upright innocency fail me,
I’ll to the King my master that is dead. (35-40)

Related Characters: The Lord Chief Justice (speaker), King Henry IV
Page Number: 5.2.36-42
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, the Chief Justice mourns the ascent of Prince Hal to the throne of England. Prince Hal has always seemed to despise the Chief Justice, and now that Hal is King Henry V, the Chief Justice is sure that his life will be hellish. The Justice prepares to face Henry V and awaits his punishment for his past of constantly scolding Hal's wild ways.

The Justice's behavior suggests that he still thinks of Henry V as an irresponsible and vindictive person--someone who lets his grudges dictate his political behavior. As we'll see very soon, though, the Justice underestimates Prince Hal. As Henry V, Hal will exercise mercy and justice on all his subjects. Furthermore, it's revealed that he has actually valued the Chief Justice's past criticisms of himself, and so he rewards the Chief Justice rather than punishing him.

So shall I live to speak my father’s words:
“Happy am I, that have a man so bold,
That dares do justice on my proper son;
And not less happy, having such a son,
That would deliver up his greatness so
Into the hands of justice.” (106-111)

Related Characters: Prince Hal/King Henry V (speaker), King Henry IV, The Lord Chief Justice
Page Number: 5.2.108-113
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, King Henry V surprises everyone by praising the Chief Justice--the very man who frequently punished Henry when Henry was only the prince, not the king. The Justice claims that he was only honoring the rules of law when he punished Henry. Henry is very impressed with the Justice's explanation, and plans to reward the Justice with a powerful position in court.

Why doesn't Henry enact revenge on the Chief Justice? One reason is that he's still playing his part, drawing out the surprise of how responsible and impartial he has suddenly become. Another is that the Chief Justice represents the force of law. Henry V doesn't need any domestic disturbances right now--his position as the king of England is so unstable that he could be overthrown at any time. In order to cement his status as the rightful king of England, Henry makes it known that he is a just monarch and an agent of law and order. In this way, Henry encourages his subjects to think of him as the most "natural" and legitimate king possible: to be against Henry is to be against law itself.

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The Lord Chief Justice Character Timeline in Henry IV Part 2

The timeline below shows where the character The Lord Chief Justice appears in Henry IV Part 2. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 2
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Disease Theme Icon
The Chief Justice enters and Falstaff identifies him as the man who imprisoned Prince Hal after the prince... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Disease Theme Icon
The Chief Justice will have none of Falstaff’s nonsense and says Falstaff must be deaf since he hasn’t... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Disease Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
Warfare Theme Icon
Falstaff accuses the Chief Justice of being too old to understand his youthful ways but the Chief Justice balks at... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
The Chief Justice enters. Mistress Quickly immediately tries to get the Chief Justice on her side, explaining that... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
...talk matters over for a bit in private. In the meantime, Gower enters and gives the Chief Justice a letter. Falstaff and Mistress Quickly reenter in cheerful spirits. Falstaff has somehow persuaded Mistress... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Warfare Theme Icon
Mistress Quickly, Fang, Snare, Bardolph, and the page exit. The Chief Justice talks with Gower about King Henry IV’s plans for his troops, which he is marching... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
At the palace in London, Warwick informs the Chief Justice that King Henry IV is dead. The Chief Justice says he wishes he, too, were... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
The Right to the Throne Theme Icon
...them happy. Looking around and still seeing many anxious faces, King Henry V singles out the Chief Justice , whose face looks most anxious of all and confronts him about the “great indignities”... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
The Right to the Throne Theme Icon
The Chief Justice responds that he always acted according to the law and as the representative of King... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Disease Theme Icon
The Right to the Throne Theme Icon
King Henry V replies that the Chief Justice was absolutely right to have behaved as he did and that he’s going to keep... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 5
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
The Right to the Throne Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
King Henry V enters with the Chief Justice and Falstaff shouts “my sweet boy!” “my heart!” trying to get his attention. King Henry... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
The Chief Justice enters with Lancaster and officers and order Falstaff and his friends arrested. Falstaff, Justice Shallow,... (full context)