Henry IV Part 2

King Henry IV Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
The reigning King of England at play’s start, King Henry IV, falls gravely sick and he dies, passing the crown to his son King Henry V. While alive, King Henry IV is wracked with anxiety about his civil war-torn kingdom and plagued by the rebels’ longstanding resentment of his unscrupulous rise to the throne. He laments the burdens of being king, and is full of anxiety about Prince Hal's eventual rise to the throne, given Hal's self-indulgence.

King Henry IV Quotes in Henry IV Part 2

The Henry IV Part 2 quotes below are all either spoken by King Henry IV or refer to King Henry IV. 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 3 Quotes

The commonwealth is sick of their own choice:
Their over-greedy love hath surfeited…
…Thou, beastly feeder, art so full of [King Henry IV]
That thou provokes thyself to cast him up.
So, so, thou common dog, didst thou disgorge
Thy glutton bosom of the royal Richard;
And now thou wouldst eat thy dead vomit up. (87-98)

Related Characters: The Archbishop of York (speaker), King Henry IV
Related Symbols: Sickness
Page Number: 1.3.91-103
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 3, Scene 1 Quotes

…O partial sleep, give thy repose
To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude
And, in the calmest and most stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot
Deny it to a king? Then, happy low, lie down.
Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. (26-31)

Related Characters: King Henry IV (speaker)
Page Number: 3.1.26-31
Explanation and Analysis:

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Then you perceive the body of our kingdom,
How foul it is, what rank diseases grow
And with what danger near the heart of it. (38-40)

Related Characters: King Henry IV (speaker)
Related Symbols: Sickness
Page Number: 3.1.38-40
Explanation and Analysis:

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Rumour doth double, like the voice and echo,
The numbers of the fear’d...
…Upon my soul, my lord,
The powers that you already have sent forth
Shall bring this prize in very easily. (99-103)

Related Characters: Earl of Warwick (speaker), King Henry IV, Rumor
Page Number: 3.1.100-104
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 4, Scene 1 Quotes

Construe the times to their necessities,
And you shall say indeed, it is the time,
And not the king, that doth you injuries. (105-107)

Related Characters: Earl of Westmoreland (speaker), King Henry IV
Page Number: 4.1.109-111
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 4, Scene 3 Quotes

…Lo, where it sits,
Which God shall guard; and put the whole world’s strength
Into one giant arm, it shall not force
This lineal honor from me. This from thee
Will I to mine leave, as ‘tis left to me. (43-47)

Related Characters: Prince Hal/King Henry V (speaker), King Henry IV
Page Number: 4.3.189-195
Explanation and Analysis:

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Thou hast stol'n that which after some few hours
Were thine without offense, and at my death
Thou hast seal'd up my expectation. (101-103)

Related Characters: King Henry IV (speaker), Prince Hal/King Henry V
Page Number: 4.3.255-257
Explanation and Analysis:

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Be it thy course to busy giddy minds
With foreign quarrels; that action, hence borne out,
May waste the memory of the former days. (344-346)

Related Characters: King Henry IV (speaker), Prince Hal/King Henry V
Page Number: 4.3.372-375
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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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:

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…believe me, I beseech you;
My father is gone wild into his grave,
For in his tomb lie my affections;
And with his spirit sadly I survive,
To mock the expectation of the world,
To frustrate prophecies and to raze out
Rotten opinion, who hath writ me down
After my seeming. (122-129)

Related Characters: Prince Hal/King Henry V (speaker), King Henry IV
Page Number: 5.2.123-130
Explanation and Analysis:

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King Henry IV Character Timeline in Henry IV Part 2

The timeline below shows where the character King Henry IV appears in Henry IV Part 2. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Induction
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Disease Theme Icon
The Right to the Throne Theme Icon
Rumor goes on to set the stage for the action of the play: King Henry IV ’s side has just won the battle of Shrewsbury, crushing Hotspur and his rebel allies.... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 1
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
...Prince Hal, Douglas and Worcester have been captured, and the rebel troops are all disbanded. King Henry IV ’s side is victorious and Lancaster and Westmoreland are currently leading troops towards Northumberland. (full context)
Disease Theme Icon
The Right to the Throne Theme Icon
Warfare Theme Icon
Morton informs Northumberland that the Archbishop of York is rallying more rebel troops against King Henry IV and that his troops will fight better than Hotspur’s, for Hotspur’s soldiers fought “with queasiness…as... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Disease Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
Warfare Theme Icon
...his head at what a terrible influence Falstaff is on Prince Hal and observes that King Henry IV has separated Falstaff from the prince. Yes, Falstaff replies that he is leaving the prince... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 3
Warfare Theme Icon
...the other rebels Mowbray, Lord Marshall, Hastings, and Lord Bardolph to discuss their strategy against King Henry IV . They’re still unsure whether Northumberland will send soldiers to strengthen their troops and Mowbray... (full context)
Warfare Theme Icon
...they should launch their rebellion despite being uncertain about Northumberland’s support, Hastings points out that King Henry IV ’s own troops are pretty weak, since he is also busy fighting in Wales and... (full context)
Disease Theme Icon
The Right to the Throne Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
...determines that they should launch their rebellion. The English people, he says, are “sick of” King Henry IV . He then goes on to lambast the English for being a gluttonous, idiot dog,... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Warfare Theme Icon
...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 up to join Lancaster’s forces before... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
The Right to the Throne Theme Icon
...dressed, whore-addicted lowlife as Poins. When Poins chides Hal for chattering on so light-heartedly while King Henry IV lies sick, Hal replies that it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to air his grief... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 4
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
The Right to the Throne Theme Icon
Warfare Theme Icon
Peto, a drinking buddy of Falstaff and Hal, enters and tells everyone that King Henry IV is in Westminster and that a dozen army captains are out looking for Falstaff. Prince... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
The Right to the Throne Theme Icon
At Westminster castle, King Henry IV can’t sleep. He sends for the Earl of Surrey and Earl of Warwick and, alone... (full context)
Disease Theme Icon
Warwick and Surrey enter and King Henry IV asks them if they “perceive the body of our kingdom how foul it is, what... (full context)
Time Theme Icon
King Henry IV is inconsolable, and cries that the passage of time changes everything, setting off vast transformations... (full context)
Time Theme Icon
Warwick assures King Henry IV that every man’s life is a form of history and that studying that history enables... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Disease Theme Icon
Warfare Theme Icon
King Henry IV says he’s heard that the Archbishop and Northumberland’s troops number fifty thousand soldiers. Warwick assures... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Disease Theme Icon
The Right to the Throne Theme Icon
Warfare Theme Icon
...they might cause by going on the offense, leaving them no choice but rebellion since King Henry IV has refused to listen to their grievances. They don’t want to break the peace, the... (full context)
The Right to the Throne Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
Westmoreland balks at the Arcbishop’s claim that King Henry IV has denied the rebels his attention and protests that the rebels have no legitimate cause... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
The Right to the Throne Theme Icon
Warfare Theme Icon
...swearing “by the honor of my blood” that it’s all just a misunderstanding, and that King Henry IV will redress them immediately as long as the rebels disband their troops. The Archbishop says,... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Disease Theme Icon
...strong, like Prince Hal who owes his courage to wine consumption (not to his father King Henry IV , who is, Falstaff claims, a coward). If Falstaff has sons, he resolves, he’ll make... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
Disease Theme Icon
The Right to the Throne Theme Icon
In the palace in London, King Henry IV lies sick in bed. He asks his son Humphrey Duke of Gloucester about Prince Hal... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
As King Henry IV lies unconscious, Clarence and Gloucester discuss the grim omens that have plagued the kingdom recently:... (full context)
Disease Theme Icon
The Right to the Throne Theme Icon
Prince Hal enters and, hearing King Henry IV is bedridden, says he’ll sit with his father while his father sleeps. Clarence, Gloucester, and... (full context)
The Right to the Throne Theme Icon
King Henry IV wakes and cries out for Clarence, Gloucester, and Warwick, who enter. Hearing that Prince Hal... (full context)
Disease Theme Icon
The Right to the Throne Theme Icon
King Henry IV accuses Prince Hal of wishing him dead. “O foolish youth,” he exclaims, “Thou seek’st the... (full context)
Disease Theme Icon
The Right to the Throne Theme Icon
Prince Hal cries out for King Henry IV ’s pardon, handing back the crown and swearing his enduring allegiance to his father. Hal... (full context)
The Right to the Throne Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
Warfare Theme Icon
Moved by his son’s speech, King Henry IV forgives Prince Hal and imparts his final advice lovingly: “God knows, my son,” he says... (full context)
Warfare Theme Icon
Lancaster and Warwick enter to bid King Henry IV last farewells. The king asks what the name of the room where he fainted was... (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 dead, for Prince Hal... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
The Right to the Throne Theme Icon
...Henry V, enters and, seeing his brothers’ nervous expressions, tells them he understands sorrow at King Henry IV ’s death but that they shouldn’t be worried about his rise to the throne. He’ll... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
The Right to the Throne Theme Icon
...Justice responds that he always acted according to the law and as the representative of King Henry IV , whose power was vested in him. When Prince Hal broke the king’s laws, he... (full context)
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Disease Theme Icon
The Right to the Throne Theme Icon
...past. Addressing everybody, King Henry V says that his past behavior has been buried with King Henry IV : “the tide of blood in me hath proudly flowed in vanity till now. Now... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
The Right to the Throne Theme Icon
...one another. Falstaff’s page and Davy attend them. Pistol arrives and announces the news that King Henry IV has died and King Henry V reigns. Overjoyed, Falstaff immediately prepares to ride off to... (full context)