Henry IV Part 2


William Shakespeare

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Henry IV Part 2: Act 5, Scene 4 Summary & Analysis

Read our modern English translation of this scene.
On a London street, two beadles arrest Mistress Quickly and Doll Tearsheet, saying that the women have been involved in several murders. The women struggle violently. Doll Tearsheet claims to be pregnant and warns the beadles that they will cause her to miscarry. The beadles accuse her of stuffing her dress with cushions to feign a pregnancy. The beadles say that the man the women and Pistol beat is now dead. Doll Tearsheet demands to be brought to a judge. All exit.
A strange interlude. Though there has been no prior allusion to Mistress Quickly and Doll Tearsheet’s murders, the scene may be intended to emphasize a tightening of the law under King Henry V. If Prince Hal was endlessly indulgent of these women’s dishonest vices, King Henry V is not.
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon