King Henry IV, Part 1 By William Shakespeare Summary and Analysis Act IV: Scene 3

Summary

Worcester and Vernon try to convince Hotspur that the rebel forces should not attack at once. Douglas sides with young Percy. The sound of a trumpet announces a parley, and Sir Walter Blunt enters "with gracious offers from the king." This gives Hotspur the occasion to review the story of how Henry was helped by the Percies when he returned from exile and how he then usurped the throne. Now, says the young rebel commander, Henry has proved ungrateful to his benefactors and has ignored the proper claims of Mortimer. When Blunt asks if this is Percy's final answer, he is told that it is not. In the morning Hotspur will send Worcester to hear the king's terms and to present their own.

Analysis

The Hotspur of this scene is admirable; he is anything but the foolhardy, impetuous youth. As supreme commander of the rebel forces, he reasons well. Already facing a numerically superior power, he knows that the odds against him will increase unless he commits his troops immediately. In his recital of grievances he invites understanding and sympathy. He expresses a willingness to negotiate if the terms are honorable. The scene thus ends on at least a faint note of hope.

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