Friday, September 08, 2006

King Henry -- Act 2, Scene 4, Lines 1-137

Please post your comment for the first half of Scene 4 of Act 2 here. Instructions are on the Scene 3 post.


Blogger kelsee p said...


What is the significance of Prince Henry's and Francis' relationship? Why does Prince tell Francis that he will pay him a thousand pound for one penny of sugar? Maybe it is just me, but I am confused.

Tue Sep 12, 04:52:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Justin L said...

Response to Act 2 Scene 4 Part I:

6) Through examining the relationships of Prince Hal to Falstaff and Prince Hal to Poins, an interesting concept appears regarding the level of trust that these characters place upon their relationships. Traveling back to Act 1 Scene 2 and Act 2 Scene 2, when Poins and Prince Hal plan and execute their plan to rob Falstaff and his fellow thieves, there is a continuing trust in that relationship that comes to the surface again at the beginning of this passage when Prince Hal rants about his feelings toward the tapsters in the tavern (2.4.3-34). The prince is not one to tell everyone his thoughts and motives, preferring to keep them hidden most of time, which leads to the idea that since he is a fairly private person, his open attitude and demeanor toward Poins exemplifies his trust of that person. This is further shown when Prince Hal asks Poins for his advice on dealing with the arrival of the thieves (2.4.91). This request for help throws the trust in their relationship to another dimension as Prince Hal begins not only to confide his feelings in Poins, but to also shape his future feelings with Poin’s input. This deep relationship becomes clear when juxtaposed next to Prince Hal’s relationship with Falstaff. Throughout the course of the play, Prince Hal seems to distrust the advice given to him by Falstaff, which leads to the question as to why did Prince Hal instinctively trust Poins, but not Falstaff? Could it have been Prince Hal’s plan to test Falstaff by robbing him and then questioning him about it later by continuously asking “what’s the matter?” (2.4.163). Thus, when Falstaff responded that “a hundred” (2.4.167) came upon the “four of us” (2.4.168), his lie could have solidified Prince Hal’s distrust of Falstaff. Yet, in Prince Hal’s distrust of Falstaff, he questions every response given to him, which leads to a statement that appears to show Falstaff’s devotion to Prince Hal and not his betrayal, which is seen in Falstaff’s statement of why “should I turn upon the true prince?”(2.4.280-281). This leads to a greater vision of Falstaff’s commitment to Prince Hal in that he was willing to give up his personal stances, in an effort to assist the future king. Could this hidden trust be stronger than the instant trust of Poins? Or, is the clear relationship that was always there stronger? The answers to these questions will probably be found later in the play, but the main idea of this relationship is the idea that Prince Hal appears to trust words over actions. Could this hurt his relationships in the end? The differences between these two relationships will be interesting to see change throughout the course of the play.

Tue Sep 12, 10:25:00 PM 2006  
Blogger kelsee p said...

Response to Justin:
I found many of the points that Justin brought up to be very interesting. I believe that it is very significant to notice the continuing development of the relationships of Poins with Prince Hal. I found Justin's observations to be very intuitive in that the price is very selective in who he trusts. To offer an answer to the question of why Hal instinctively trusted Poins while instinctively distrusting Falstaff, i believe that the very reason for this is simply that the prince is very intuitive and deeplu sensitive, much more so than Falstaff gives him credit for. Falstaff thinks the prince a fool and thus Hal reciprocates these feelings.

Wed Sep 13, 10:32:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Robyn Louis said...

8) I traced the image of beards throughout this scene.
Falstaff: "A King's son! If I do not beat thee out of thy kingdom with a dagger of lath, and drive all thy subjects afore thee like a flock of geese, I'll never wear hair on my face more. " Line 124-126
Falstaff: "Worcester is stolen away tonight. Thy father's beard is turned white with the news." Line 322-324
Both these comments made by Falstaff are comparing a beard to something. In the first Falstaff is using his beard to atest to his honesty. In the second he is using the kings beard to illustrate his worry. The ironic thing is that both are used when suggesting that King Henry may be ousted of his power. The first quote refers to Falstaff driving Harry out of his kingdom, jokingly. Then Falstaff says that the King is so worried his beard has turned white because of the threat of being driven out of his kinddom.

Wed Sep 13, 10:38:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Stacie C said...

#6 Act II, Scene iv
Why does Hal need those around him, since they are simply pub crawlers? For example, in the first line, Hal says to Poins, "prithee come out of that fat room, and lend me thy hand to laugh a little" (1-2). Hal clearly needs Poins' company because he changes his mood, and helps him to escape from the tense position that he is in as the Prince of England. Furthermore, he later tells Poins that "thou has lost much honor,/ that thou wert not with me in this action"(18-19). Since Poins did not support Hal in each particular of his latest plot, Hal assumes that he is less valiant, less worthy to share company with the royal family. Hal clearly wants to have only company that will serve him, and will acquiesce to each of his changing moods and ideas. Finally, this relationship also extends to Falstaff, who spent time at the bar recounting the day's adventures to Hal, but repeatedly lying to make himself appear courageous. Falstaff states, "thou knowest I am/ as valiant as Hercules. But beware instinct, the lion will not/ touch the true prince,instinct is a great matter" (246-249). Although Falstaff continually lies to Hal, the Prince tolerates him because Falstaff reaffirms him and alludes to the idea that his role as Prince is in no danger. What fears and anxieties cause Hal to remain acquaintances and friends with pub-crawlers, and why does he need their assurance that he is in no danger?

Wed Sep 13, 01:54:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Kylee L said...

Act 2 Scene 4 Part 1:

1) In the first half of this scene Prince Henry is drinking wine with some of his newly made friends. Henry then meets up with Poins and they go make fun of Francis who is a new bartender. Later on Falstaff arrives at the tavern. Falstaff tells Poins and Henry that he was robbed by a hundred men, "a hundred upon poor four of us" (96, line 147). Falstaff keeps telling his story. He says that he was stabbed eight times and that it was the best fighting he had ever done. Poins and Henry just listen to his story. They were the ones who actually robbed Falstaff and they eventually got fed up with all his lies. When Henry can't take it anymore he says, "Then did we two set on you four and, with a word, outfaced you from your prize..." (104, lines 234-235). Falstaff realizes it was Henry and Poins who robbed him and he pretends that he had recognized Henry when he was getting robbed. Falstaff says that he knew it was them two all along.

Wed Sep 13, 07:13:00 PM 2006  
Blogger ChristyH said...

Response to Act 2 Scene 4 Part 1:
Some lines that I really enjoyed in the first part of scene 4 were when Prince Henry and Poins were playing a prank on the bartender, Francis. They want to pass the time until Falstaff arrives, so they decide to test Francis' patience. Prince Henry says, "...and do thou never leave calling 'Francis,' that his tale to me may be nothing but "Anon" (2.4.28-29). Then later the conversation continues with:
Poins: "Francis!"
Francis: "Anon, sir!"
Prince Henry: "How old art thou, Francis?"
Francis: Let me see. About Michaelmas next, I shall be-"
Poins: "Francis!"
Francis: "Anon, sir!"
(2.4.47-52). I really liked reading this part because it portrayed the rebellious side of Prince Henry and the fun he has with Poins. I love how they tested Francis's patience and only frustrated him more by both calling for his attention at the same time. It was really easy for my to visualize Francis darting back and forth while trying to keep his cool! This conversation really made me laugh and I really loved the way these two men were having fun and enjoying their time together.

Wed Sep 13, 07:55:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Paige w said...

This section of scene 4 makes me feel bad for Hal. It seems that he doesn't have any real friends, Poins and Falstaff are just there to entertain him. I think he is going through a hard time with his father, and though it seems he is trying to rebel against him, he may just be afraid of gaining the throne. I think the news of a civil war and the rebellion will have a big impact on Hal, but I'm not sure what kind. He seems like the type to run, but he may also see this as his chance to prove to Henry he is a true prince.

Wed Sep 13, 08:41:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Eric G. said...

The theme of denying ones true role plays a large role in this section of the play. This is tied closely to the idea of being a coward as Falstaff tries to toss aside his cowardly actions by pinning it on another. The first time the word coward is used is when the Prince is talking to the servant Francis:
But, Francis, darest thou be so valiant
as to play the coward with thy indenture and show it
a fair pair of heels and run from it? (Lines 47-50)

I don’t get what this means, but maybe the Prince is making fun of Francis’s girly name saying he wears high heels. I doubt that’s correct though. Mr. Sale could tell me what these lines mean? However, throughout the rest of the section Falstaff uses the word coward a lot, twelve times to be exact. This is ironic because of course Falstaff is the true coward. Falstaff is probably not too pleased with his own cowardly actions. In order to make himself feel better Falstaff rationalizes that his running away is no where near as spineless as the non-participation of Hal and Poins. In his mad attempt to accuse everyone but himself Falstaff even declares that a plague should come upon all cowards (Lines 120-121). This is a very real curse in 1400 England. That was a time when Black Death struck often taking lives without warning. To stamp and seal his point, Falstaff attempts to cover his own mistakes comparing cowards to the worst of all things, bad drinks trying to pass off as good drinks. Falstaff declares that “A coward is worse than a cup of sack with lime!” (Line 129). Despite Falstaff’s gallant attempts to justify his ungallant actions, no one is fooled. Once Falstaff leaves the room the rest jest in Falstaff’s elaborate lies and doings to avoid admitting what he truly is. Maybe it isn’t so apparent in this scene, but perhaps there is another character denying his role through an elaborate charade?

Wed Sep 13, 09:24:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Chennery F said...

In the beginning of this scene, Hal acts arrogant and degrading towards Francis, the younger man who works in the tavern. When Hal says things like "But, Francis, darest thou be so valiant as to play teh coward with they indenture," it proves that in this world of pub crawlers, he's not only looking for a role model but also trying to become one. In this environment, with someone "beneath" him, he feels comfortable telling younger Francis what to do. Later on he starts to confuse him, just because Hal likes the power he has over them. In this scenario, he has a chance to act superior to those lower than him, since one day he will become king.

Wed Sep 13, 11:19:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Amy J said...

I loved Falstaff's description of the "fight” that he had with the robbers that stole his treasure, and the extreme measures he went to in order to defend his story. Three times he claims that if a part of his story is not true, he is not Falstaff. He exclaims, "They were bound, every man of them, or I am a Jew else, an Ebrew Jew," (lines 164-5) "If I fought not with fifty of them I am a bunch of radish. If there were not two or three-and-fifty upon poor Jack, then am I no two-legged creature" (lines 170-4). Ironically, none of the absurdities he claims are true, and so he should be a Jew, a radish, and a four-legged creature. Falstaff's stubbornness is funny because he is telling a blatant lie but continues to adamantly refute any corrections Hal and Poins try to make.

Thu Sep 14, 07:43:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Sean K said...

Aside from comedic relief, this scene shows the hypocritical side of Falstaff. On lines 122 to 131, he claims that there are three cowards in England who deserve hanging. It is hypocritical for Falstaff to call thieves cowards because in the last act, he justifies robbery as a legitimate job to Hal. This scene is also ironic because the audience and Hal know that Falstaff ran away during the robbery, but Falstaff continues to lie when Hal calls him a coward. This shows not only Falstaff’s hypocrisy, but also serves as comedic relief when an argument ensues.

Thu Sep 14, 04:58:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Emily M said...

Act II Scene IV

1) Prince Hal comes into the tavern where Poins is, and is raving about his newfound friends--who also happen to be the bartenders. These bartenders think highly of Hal, and he is pleased to hear it! THey tell him that he is,"...the king of courtesy...a lad of mettle, a good boy". Then Hal basically pokes fun at a young man named Francis. Falstaff, Gadshill, Bardolph and Peto enter the tavern. Falstaff starts by proclaiming that all cowards need to be cursed: "All men are cheaters and schemers, but a coward is worse than a glass of wine with lime in it." (Leave it to Falstaff to compare a coward to an alcoholic drink!) This of course, is utter hypocrasy. Prince Hal and Poins listen to Falstaff as he goes on about cowardice, knowing that earlier Falstaff ran away when they robbed them! Falstaff then begins to tell of the robbery, saying that 100 men, then 16, then 4, then 7 men attacked them, and that Falstaff himself fought them off. Of course, Hal is using his wit to make Falstaff look like a bubbling idiot. Eventually Hal accuses Falstaff of lying, " carried your guts away as nimbly, with as quick dexterity, and roared for mercy..." Falstaff covers up his lie by saying that he purposely acted cowardly, that it was by instinct. Because it was the heir to the throne, Falstaff claims that he didn't want to hurt Hal.

Thu Sep 14, 07:46:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Paige w said...

I agree with Sean's response. I think Falstff is very hypocritical, but at the same time he is just having fun. He tries to be the leader of the group by making comments like this one, but he knows Hal always seems to have the final say.

Thu Sep 14, 07:53:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Dayna Z said...

Act 2, Scene 4 (1st half):

In response to Kelsee’s first comment:
I had two different interpretations of why Hal offers a thousand pounds to Francis. The first is that he is just joking around with Francis simply for amusement. When Hal asks Francis when he would like the thousand pounds, Francis immediately yells “Anon, anon” (59) to Poins offstage. Hal then jokes with him saying, “Anon, Francis? No, Francis, but tomorrow, Francis; or Francis, o’ Thursday…” (60-61). The way he is poking fun at Francis is emphasized by his incessant repetition of Francis’s name and also by the way he turns Francis’s yell of anon into a response to his question instead of a call to Poins.

The second interpretation is that Hal thought it would be amusing to take Francis out of his contract of apprenticeship at the bar and thus hurt his master by leaving before he is legally free. This is portrayed when Hal demands, “But, Francis, darest thou be so valiant as to play the coward with thy indenture… and run from it?…Wilt thou rob this leathern jerkin, crystal-button…” (42-44, 65). I believe Hal was only offering the thousand pounds as a ploy to convince Francis to leave his master, thus leaving the bar short of labor. Perhaps like his amusement at thievery, Hal is entertained by the struggles of others.

Thu Sep 14, 09:12:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Molly M said...

Act 2 Begining of Scene 4:


In this scene, Hal has been enjoying wine with new friends of his and with Poins. Hal and Poins then begin and tease the bar tender Francis. They seem to be messing around and playing with him and giving him a hard time. Then Falstaff, Gadshill, Bardolph, and Peto arrive and begin to tell the tale of how they were robbed. Falstaff then begins to get his own story mixed up, the number of "rogues in buckram" continue to increase and increase. Hal has no problem calling Falstaff out on his mistakes and enjoys giving Falstaff a hard time. Hal then, unable to stand it any longer reveals to the others that himself and Poins were the robbers who took the money. Then Falstaff attempts to redeem himself by claiming that he knew it was the prince all along and he is far to valiant to harm the prince. He is like "Hercules," a great and respectable hero.

Thu Sep 14, 10:10:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Matt P said...

I thougnt Prince Harry's mocking of Hotspur was very funny. Harry says:
"...he that kills me some six or seven dozen of Scots at breakfast, washes his hands, and says to his wife 'Fie upon this quiet life! I want work.' 'O/My sweet Harry,' says she, 'how many hast thou killed today?' 'Give my roan horse a drench,' says he, and answers ;Some fourteen,' an hour after; 'a trifle, a trifle'" (98-104).
Harry, the classic miscreant and underachiever, mocks his contemporary, Hotspur, because he sees the great succes Hotspur has. Harry is somewhat intimidated by Hotspur, but he also enjoys his own liesurly life.

I particularly liked Falstaff's line upon entering the tevern: "A plague of all cowards" (109). This line is the epitome of irony to me because Falstaff is cursing Henry and Poins as cowards for not meeting him where they were supposed to when, in reality, Falstaff is the coward. Falstaff ran instead of fighting the disguised Poins and Henry when they robbed him. This in itself is an act of cowardice, but Falstaff follows it up with an elaborate story about how bravely he fought against a hundred men. He even beats himself up, cuts up his equipment, and forces his collegues to do the same.

Thu Sep 14, 10:13:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Sam S said...

In response to Paige...
I think it is true that Hal doesn't have any real friends, because he is in a very awkward place right now. He has just become the Prince of Wales, has to deal with his new expectations as prince, even though he's never been trained for the part. He's also kind of using Poins and Falstaff to foil himself like he describes in Act 1...if he acts awful now, when he does become a hero it'll seem even more heroic. However, I don't think he is the type to run. I think he is just biding his time until he can show everyone what a hero he is.

Thu Sep 14, 10:25:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Melissa said...

Act 2 Scene 4

3. I really enjoyed this scene. Really, I liked reading it. Hal is such an interesting, complex character. I don't really understand him at times, there are so many underlying aspects of him that I feel like I don't know. For instance, in his speech in lines 94 through 106, he speaks of Hotspur. He describes what he imagines Hotspur to be like, completely insulting him saying, "...he that kills me some six or seven dozen of Scots at a breakdast, washes his hands, and says to his wife, "Fie upon this quiet life! I want work...." (98-100). He is implying that Hotspur is a savage murderer who wants to kill people. Maybe he is afraid for himself that when Hotspur realizes that Hal is in the picture of the line of the crown, he will come after him. He also says, "I prithee call in Falstaff. I'll play Percy, and that damned brawn shall play Dame Mortimer his wife" (104-105). What does he know about Hotspur and the rebellion? Does he know that Hotspur is not telling Katherine? Or am I just over-analyzing this and/or missing the point completely?

What exactly is Hal's relationship with Hotspur?

Thu Sep 14, 10:44:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Maya R said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Thu Sep 14, 10:58:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Maya R said...

Hal hangs out in pubs to raise his self esteem. He accomplishes this by playing tricks on those he finds stupid. For example, in the first part of this scene, Hal questions and confuses his drawer, Francis, just to make a point to Poins that Francis is dumb. After he proves his point, Hal remarks: "That ever this fellow should have fewer words than a parrot, and yet the son of a woman!" (94) Then Hal goes on to question Falstaff about his encounter with the men who stole their robbings. As Falstaff tells his story, Hal questions him about the particulars that Falstaff keeps changing. When Hal finally reveals to Falstaff that he and Poins robbed Falstaff, Hal has made a complete fool of Falstaff. The Prince does things like this to elevate his own knowledge. Perhaps Hal is not recognized by his father or the court, so he must create recognition for himself in the pubs he visits.

Thu Sep 14, 11:01:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Steph Zepelin said...

Here is a political analogy to explain your question:
Tony Blair is to George W Bush
Francis is to Hal.
Basically, Francis is Hal's lap dog. I picture Francis being a slim and twitchy man who is easily frightened. Hal can exercise his power over Francis more than he can over his friends. Even though the other pub crawlers acknowledge that Hal is a Prince, they do not repsond to the fact with the same obedience as Francis. I
As for the sugar, I think Hal is teasing Francis. It is kind of like when you give a dollar to a little kid: they think that you have just given them a great deal of money...but mostly they are just really impressed with you and your wealth.
I also thought that Francis was an interesting/fun character.

Thu Sep 14, 11:05:00 PM 2006  
Blogger sarahg said...

Act II scene iv

What is the purpose of Poins's continous calling for Francis? And furthermore, what is a "drawer"? Is it a bartender in training? In Line 33, Francis says, "Look down into the Pomgarnet", which means a "pomegranate room" in modern English. What is a pomegranate room? Actually, I was unsure about most of the conversation between Francis and Prince Henry. Why was it important? Why does Prince Henry ask if Francis is "so valiant as to play the coward with they indenture..."(Line 41-42)? I don't understand what he means by this. Is the prince saying that all bartenders are cowards? And why is Prince Henry constantly cutting Francis off in their conversation? Does this reveal something about the prince's character? Does this show his sense of superiority and authority over the pub crawlers? I am not sure...

Thu Sep 14, 11:56:00 PM 2006  
Blogger sarahg said...

Robyn, my darling:

I found your "beard observations" very interesting. I did notice the "beard made white" comment, because I thought that it was clever. Today, one can notice that President Bush's hair has "whitened", or at least greyed since he took office in 2001.

Also, I think that Falstaff describes himself as beardless, because young men and boys do not have beards. I think that Falstaff is still just a kid at heart... a kid who drinks constantly, is incredibly overweight, and robs people... but you know what I mean-- his personality is still very childish at times. He longs for adventure, excitement, and entertainment and likes to test limits. The king, on the other hand, has a full, white beard-- a strong contrast to Falstaff's appearance--because King Henry is grown up and has the weight of the country on his shoulders.

Fri Sep 15, 12:01:00 AM 2006  
Blogger barbarab88 said...

Why does Shakespeare give Falstaff one of the most significant (I think) mini-soliloquies in this scene? Falstaff is commenting on how the worst kind of man is a "villainous coward". He goes on to say that there are not even three good men that have gone unhanged in England. Why does Shakespeare make Falstaff out to be one of the most comic and "wasteful" men in the play, yet give him such deep insights? How does Falstaff gain his clearity of mind and how does he maintain it through all of his drinking?

Fri Sep 15, 12:04:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Eric W. said...

3) Is Falstaff contradicting himself a lot or is it just me? Falstaff justifies cowardice acts but then says people like that should die. Is Shakespeare using this as comic relief or is Shakespeare revealing the untrustworthiness of Falstaff? I know that Falstaff is in the play for comic relief, but does this contradiction and irony serve to any deeper level in the play?

Mon Sep 25, 06:11:00 AM 2006  

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