Henry IV Part 1

Prince Hal (Henry, Prince of Wales) Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
As comfortable in the Boarshead Tavern as he is in the court or on the battlefield, Prince Hal is as fun-loving and mischievous as he is noble and authoritative. Though King Henry and Hotspur initially dismiss Prince Hal as a good-for-nothing party boy, Prince Hal reveals himself to be the most powerful character in the play. As he brags to Poins, Hal can talk with and befriend any sort of person and this amiable adaptability empowers him in ways that the stodgy King Henry and rash Hotspur can never compete with.

Prince Hal (Henry, Prince of Wales) Quotes in Henry IV Part 1

The Henry IV Part 1 quotes below are all either spoken by Prince Hal (Henry, Prince of Wales) or refer to Prince Hal (Henry, Prince of Wales). 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:
Appearances Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Simon & Schuster edition of Henry IV Part 1 published in 2005.
Act 1, Scene 1 Quotes

…thou mak’st me sad and mak’st me sin
In envy that my Lord Northumberland
Should be the father to so blest a son—
A son who is the theme of honour’s tongue,
Amongst a grove the very straightest plant,
Who is sweet Fortune’s minion and her pride—
Whilst I, by looking on the praise of him
See riot and dishnor stain the brow
Of my young Harry. O, that it could be proved
That some night-tripping fairy had exchanged
In cradle clothes our children where they lay,
And called mine Percy, his Plantagenet!

Related Characters: King Henry IV (speaker), Prince Hal (Henry, Prince of Wales), Hotspur (Henry Percy), Northumberland
Page Number: 1.1.77-88
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 1, Scene 2 Quotes

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.
I’ll so offend to make offence a skill,
Redeeming time when men think least I will.

Related Characters: Prince Hal (Henry, Prince of Wales) (speaker)
Page Number: 1.2.215-224
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 2, Scene 4 Quotes

I am so good a proficient in one quarter of an hour, that I can drink with any tinker in his own language during my life. I tell thee, Ned, thou hast lost much honor, that thou wert not with me in this sweet action.

Related Characters: Prince Hal (Henry, Prince of Wales) (speaker)
Page Number: 2.4.17-21
Explanation and Analysis:

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Why, hear ye, my masters: Was it for me to kill the heir-apparent? should I turn upon the true Prince? why, thou knowest I am as valiant as Hercules: but beware instinct; the lion will not touch the true Prince. Instinct is a great matter; I was now a coward on instinct. I shall think the better of myself and thee during my life; I for a valiant lion, and thou for a true prince.

Related Characters: Sir John Falstaff (speaker), Prince Hal (Henry, Prince of Wales)
Page Number: 2.4.279-286
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Act 3, Scene 2 Quotes

…I will wear a garment all of blood
And stain my favour in a bloody mask,
Which, wash’d away, shall scour my shame with it.

Related Characters: Prince Hal (Henry, Prince of Wales) (speaker)
Related Symbols: Blood
Page Number: 3.2.140-142
Explanation and Analysis:

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Prince Hal (Henry, Prince of Wales) Character Timeline in Henry IV Part 1

The timeline below shows where the character Prince Hal (Henry, Prince of Wales) appears in Henry IV Part 1. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Appearances Theme Icon
Honor Theme Icon
The Right to be King Theme Icon
...of Lord Northumberland whose honorable, upright son Henry Percy (Hotspur) puts the King’s own son Prince Henry (Prince Hal) to shame. The king wishes he could prove that the two sons had somehow been... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
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Elsewhere in the London palace, Prince Hal and Falstaff banter in one of the prince’s rooms. Falstaff asks the time and the... (full context)
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Falstaff calls Prince Hal “the most comparative, rascalliest, sweet young prince.” Then he declares he wishes he and Hal... (full context)
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Prince Hal and Falstaff discuss stealing a purse the next day. Ned Poins enters and he and... (full context)
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As soon as Falstaff exits, Points lets Prince Hal in on his real plan: he and Prince Hal will put on disguises and, after... (full context)
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Alone on stage, Prince Hal delivers a speech explaining that, though he acts corrupt, his behavior has nothing to do... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
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Prince Hal and Poins enter on a road at Gads Hill with Bardolph and Peto following a... (full context)
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...alerts everyone that there’s royal money being delivered down this hill towards the royal exchequer. Prince Hal orders the men into position to ambush travelers. When Falstaff worries that they might themselves... (full context)
Honor Theme Icon
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...and Falstaff, Gadshill, Bardolph, and Peto stop them, demanding money. They drive the travellers offstage. Prince Hal and Poins enter in disguises, prepared, as Prince Hal says, to “rob the thieves” for... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 4
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Prince Hal and Poins meet in a room in the Boarshead Tavern in Eastcheap. Poins asks where... (full context)
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Prince Hal sends Poins to the next room so they can play a trick on the slow-witted... (full context)
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Vintner enters and announces that Falstaff and others are at the door. Prince Hal and Poins are giddy in anticipation. Falstaff, Gadshill, Bardolph, and Peto enter with Francis, pouring... (full context)
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...up to eleven. He recounts how he fought them long and bravely on his own. Prince Hal and Poins let him go on for a long time before Hal interrupts and explains... (full context)
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Prince Hal gleefully declares Falstaff a shameful coward, but Falstaff immediately retorts that the truth of the... (full context)
The Right to be King Theme Icon
Hostess Quickly enters and tells Prince Hal that a nobleman sent by King Henry has arrived to speak with him. Falstaff volunteers... (full context)
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Prince Hal gets Bardolph and Peto to detail the elaborate fakery Falstaff coordinated to make them all... (full context)
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Falstaff reenters and tells Prince Hal that King Henry has requested his presence at court next morning because a plot by... (full context)
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Falstaff suggests they practice Prince Hal ’s impending meeting with King Henry. Falstaff pretends to be the king, taking a chair... (full context)
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Prince Hal demands they change places on the grounds that Falstaff doesn’t sound like King Henry. Playing... (full context)
The Right to be King Theme Icon
...with the news that the Sheriff is at the door demanding to search the tavern. Prince Hal sends everyone into hiding. The Sheriff comes in looking for Falstaff in association with the... (full context)
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As son as the Sheriff leaves, Prince Hal calls out for his friends. Falstaff has fallen asleep in his hiding place and snores... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
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The Right to be King Theme Icon
King Henry and Prince Hal enter a room in the palace in London accompanied by lords. King Henry dismisses the... (full context)
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King Henry launches into a long speech detailing all of Prince Hal ’s shortcomings: he has lost his Council seat to his younger brother (Prince John), he... (full context)
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The Right to be King Theme Icon
King Henry’s speech continues, comparing Prince Hal to his own young self. If he had been as “common-hackney’d in the eyes of... (full context)
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The Right to be King Theme Icon
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Prince Hal promises to “be more myself.” King Henry continues his long speech, comparing Prince Hal to... (full context)
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Prince Hal denies this and launches into his own long speech asking forgiveness for past behavior and... (full context)
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...for assembling their counter defense. Westmoreland and Prince John will march forth first, followed by Prince Hal , followed by the king himself. (full context)
Act 3, Scene 3
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...has been robbed of his grandfather’s valuable ring, but Hostess Quickly scoffs, saying she’s heard Prince Hal say that ring was only copper. Falstaff berates Prince Hal. (full context)
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Prince Hal and Poins enter. Hostess Quickly and Falstaff fight for the prince’s attention, Falstaff complaining about... (full context)
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Prince Hal asks Falstaff if he was really berating him and Falstaff replies, “Hal, thou know’st, as... (full context)
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Falstaff asks Prince Hal about the robbery and is dismayed to hear that Hal has returned the gold to... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
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...Prince John’s are marching towards them with seven thousand troops, and that King Henry and Prince Hal will come with even more. Vernon describes Prince Hal as “feather’d Mercury,” magnificently outfitted for... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
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Prince Hal and Westmoreland enter and Falstaff is surprised to see them, since he thought they’d already... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
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At King Henry’s camp near Shrewsbury, King Henry, Prince Hal , Prince John, Sir Walter Blunt, and Falstaff observe the dawn. The king says the... (full context)
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Prince Hal chimes in to praise Hotspur’s famous honor and courage and says that, though he has... (full context)
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Prince Hal doubts the rebels will accept peace because Douglas and Hotspur are so hot to fight.... (full context)
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Falstaff asks Prince Hal to protect him in battle, but Hal tells Falstaff to “say thy prayers” and “thou... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
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...attempts at peace-making, King Henry mercilessly summons the rebels to immediate battle. Worcester also recounts Prince Hal ’s invitation to Hotspur to fight one-on-one and describes Hal as a sweet, modest, self-deprecating... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
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Prince Hal enters and, disgusted that Falstaff is still waddling around in safety when many noblemen have... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 4
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In another part of the battlefield, King Henry, Prince Hal , Prince John, and Westmoreland discuss battle strategy. Hal is wounded and King Henry wants... (full context)
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King Henry is wounded fighting Douglas and Prince Hal re-enters to help defend his father, driving Douglas offstage. Alone on stage, King Henry tells... (full context)
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Hotspur enters and confronts Prince Hal , who tells Hotspur that England isn’t big enough for the two Harrys and prepares... (full context)
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Hotspur falls, wounded, and declares to Prince Hal that his loss of noble honor “wound[s] my thoughts worse than thy sword my flesh.”... (full context)
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Prince Hal notices Falstaff’s corpse and laments his friend’s death, saying that he “could have better spared... (full context)
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Prince Hal and Prince John enter. At first they’re shocked to see Falstaff standing and think he... (full context)
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Trumpets sound the rebels retreat and Prince Hal and Prince John exit to go see how many of their soldiers are still living.... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 5
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In another part of the battlefield, King Henry, Prince Hal , Prince John, Westmoreland and attendants enter with Worcester and Vernon as prisoners. King Henry... (full context)
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Prince Hal tells King Henry that Douglas tried to escape when he saw his side was losing... (full context)
The Right to be King Theme Icon
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...John and Westmoreland will go defeat Northumberland and Richard Scroop at York while he and Prince Hal will head to Wales to fight down Glendower and Mortimer. “Rebellion in this land shall... (full context)