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Let’s Play The death of Hotspur – Henry IV Part I A5S4

In A5S4 the relationships of Hotspur, Prince Hal, and Falstaff come to a conclusion, at least for Henry IV Part I. The battle of Shrewsbury is underway and the King’s forces are pressed.  King Henry himself is hard-pressed by Douglas until Hal comes and fights Douglas, making him flee.

Think not, Percy, To share in glory with me any more.

Think not, Percy, To share in glory with me any more.


The king leaves and Hotspur enters, finding Hal onstage.

They declare  themselves to each other, necessary with all that armour on, and then, threaten each other and then start fighting.

Falstaff enters and watches them fight, until Douglas enters who fights with Falstaff until Falstaff falls down, as if dead.



The hour has come to end the one of us.

The hour has come to end the one of us.

Soon, Prince Hal, wounds Hotspur to the death, and Hotspur bemoans his loss of homour, more than his loss of life. Prince Hal is courteous to Hotspur in death:

When that this body did contain a spirit,
A Kingdom for it was too small a bound:
But now two paces of the vilest Earth
Is room enough. This Earth that bears the dead,
Bears not alive so stout a Gentleman.
If thou wert sensible of courtesy,
I should not make so great a shew of Zeal.
But let my favours hide thy mangled face,
And even in thy behalf, I’ll thank myself
For doing these fair Rites of Tenderness.

Hal spots that Falstaff is lying on the ground, as if dead, bids him farewell, and leaves. Falstaff  gets up and makes a speech about counterfeiting. He has already given his views on honour in A5S1:

Well, ’tis no matter, Honour pricks me on. But how if Honour prick me off when I come on? How then? Can Honour set too a leg? No: or an arm? No: Or take away the grief of a wound? No. Honour hath no skill in Surgery, then? No. What is Honour? A word. What is that word Honour? Air: A trim reckoning. Who hath it? He that died a Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No. Doth he hear it? No. Is it insensible then? yea, to the dead. But will it not live with the living? No. Why? Detraction will not suffer it, therefore I’ll none of it. Honour is a mere Scutcheon, and so ends my Catechism.

But much better than to read this article is to play the scene. It needs three players, with Hotspur and Prince Hal in Parts and Cues mode, and Falstaff in “Highlit Text” mode, so he can prompt as well:

Play the scene from Hotspur’s entrance. This means that Prince Hal and Falstaff need to scroll their scripts down to Hotspur’s entrance and first line ‘If I mistake not, thou art Harry Monmouth.’. Also, only play the scene until the re-entry of Prince Hal with Prince John.

If you don’t know about “Part’s and Cues”, “Highlit Text”, or “Standard Script”, we’ve written an article which brings you up-to-speed with that and other aspects of MFFEV5. You can find it at: Let’s explore ‘Parts and Cues’, ‘Highlit Text’, and Standard Script

This extract is one of a series which explore the relationship of Henry IV, Hal, and Hotspur. If you want to explore further, you could have a look at Let’s Play: Prince Hal, Henry IV, and Hotspur which gives an overview, and provides links to other articles.

If you’ve got a few friends together to read these extracts, you’ll also find extracts from other plays that we’ve put into “Let’s Play” format. You can find them at the following links:

Let’s Play!!!

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