Act IV, Scene 2
Prince John warmly welcomes all of the rebels to the meeting, but makes sure to lay on a thin layer of guilt. The Archbishop of York maintains that they are not fighting against peace, but to right the wrongs they have suffered. The wrongs that have been pushed out of court. The rebels make clear that they are prepared to fight for as long as necessary to see their grievances addressed, even if the fight continues into the following generations. Prince John doubts that, but Westmoreland directs him to the grievances sent earlier. Prince John explains that he found their grievances to be more than fair and promised to have them addressed as soon as all of the armies have been dismissed. Hastings, upon the Prince’s word, has the armies dismissed. The Archbishop is slightly more cautious, but he and Mowbray are quickly convinced.
They hear cheers from the armies celebrating the peace agreement. Prince John tells Westmoreland to dismiss his own army. Then, he suggests they watch the men march by. The Archbishop tells Hastings to have the men march by the tent. Westmoreland returns with word that the Prince’s armies will not disperse until they receive word from the Prince himself. Hastings returns to inform them that their armies have already left. This is great news for Prince John and he has all the rebels promptly arrested. The Archbishop is shocked that the prince would so quickly abandon his word. Prince John insists that he will see their grievances addressed, but that never meant they wouldn’t suffer the consequences of rebellion.
Act IV, Scene 3
Falstaff comes across Sir Coleville of the dale leaving the battle. He promptly arrests him and Coleville doesn’t put up a fight.
Prince John enters and remarks that Falstaff always seems to show up when everything is over. Falstaff is insulted by this assertion and presents his prisoner to the Prince. Prince John is not all that impressed, but Falstaff insists that his heroic deeds be marked down with the rest of the victories today or he will have the ballad written himself. Prince John sends Coleville to be executed with the rest. Prince John tells everyone to prepare to head to court where he heard his father is very sick. Falstaff asks if he can go through Gloucestershire on his way back, which the Prince allows.
Falstaff remarks on how cold and humorless Prince John is. He asserts it is because John does not warm his blood with enough wine. Sack, he insists, warms the blood, invigorating the drinker and making him braver. Prince Hal has had enough wine to make him a hot-blooded, valiant leader.
He and Bardolph prepare to revisit Master Shallow on their way through Gloucestershire.
Act IV, Scene 4
The King worries that the rebellion will not truly be over until all of the rebels have been brought back to his side. Warwick is confident that will be the case very soon.
King Henry asks after his son, Hal. His other son says that he thinks that Hal is hunting at Westminster. Henry asked if Thomas, Duke of Clarence and another son, is hunting with him. Clarence is not. He’s in the room with the King. The King asks why he isn’t keeping Hal company. He encourages him to get close with the Prince because it will keep Hal in line and ensure Thomas’ future success in the kingdom. This is when Thomas confesses that Hal is not hunting, he is eating in London with Poins and his other unsavory friends. This news makes the ailing King worry about the time after his death, when Hal will be King and no one level-headed to guide him. Warwick attempts to comfort the King by explaining that Hal is simply studying the behavior of these lewd men so that he might understand them better. He believes Hal will eventually cast these companions aside in favor of more suitable friends. The King, however, is not so sure.
Westmoreland brings the news that he and Prince John have quashed the rebellion and peace has been restored to the kingdom. King Henry is very happy indeed to hear this news. That’s when Hastings arrives with the news that the Earl of Northumberland and the Lord Bardolph, along with a number of Scots, have been defeated in Yorkshire. This barrage of good news should make the sickly King feel better, however, he suddenly gets worse.
The Princes are quite upset to see their father in such a state. The older nobles try to comfort them by saying that the King often has fits like this, but the always pass. The Princes fear that the worry and anguish of the times has made him too ill and that this is the end. Every quiets as the King comes around and asks to be taken to bed.
Act IV, Scene 5
The King asks for silence in the room except for maybe some quiet music. They call for music to be played in the adjacent room. The King requests that the crown be laid on the pillow next to him as he falls asleep. Clarence worries aloud about the King, but is shushed by Warwick.
Prince Hal enters at this point, shocked to find his father ill upon hearing such wonderful news. He hopes that the King will recover quickly if he is sick with joy. It’s pretty clear he won’t though. Warwick tells them to be quiet and Clarence decides they should move into the other room. Hal decides to stay by his father’s bedside.
Hal wonders why the crown is on the pillow beside the sleeping King when it was the crown that caused so many sleepless nights for Henry and for all monarchs. He finds it to be a cruel irony that the crown should be his bedfellow as he sleeps his last. Hal notices that the King has fallen into an extremely deep sleep, so deep, in fact, that he thinks the King has died. Now he takes the burden of the crown upon himself and leaves.
The King suddenly stirs awake and calls for the others. He asks why he was left alone and they tell him Hal was there. They assume he must have gone into the other room. This is when the King notices the crown is gone and his suspicions fall on Hal. Warwick goes to fetch the Prince and the King scolds his other sons. He explains to them that they turn against their father as soon as his death is near. All love for a father passes away when gold and power are up for grabs.
Warwick returns and explains that he found the Prince crying alone with the crown, clearly sad about his father’s death. Hal enters the room and the King dismisses everyone else. Henry scolds him for being so eager to see his father die. That he couldn’t even wait until Henry was actually dead to give himself the crown. Henry mourns for what will happen to his kingdom once Hal is King. He laments that every lewd criminal will seek high office because Hal was once drinking buddies with them. Basically, the King unleashes all of his fear and resentment on his oldest son.
Hal immediately apologizes to his father He thought the King was dead, so he took the crown and in his mourning rebuked it for all the pain it had caused. He then thought to take the burden on himself, but he never intended to take it from his father while his father still lived.
The King sees that his son was truly upset at the thought of his death and tells him to come sit by his bed. He wants to deliver some parting wisdom. He tells Hal that he had to fight for the crown and that fact caused him a lot of grief and turmoil during his reign. Hal, however, will be granted the crown peacefully by right of inheritance. Henry suggests that Hal turn the country’s attention to foreign wars so that they may have peace at home. Hal promises to do his best to honor his father’s legacy.
Prince John returns from his fight to find his father dying. The King is comforted at the sight of his son. He calls for Warwick and asks for the name of the chamber he collapsed in. Warwick explains it is called the Jerusalem room. The King was told that he would die in Jerusalem, which he once thought to mean the Holy Land. He asks to be taken back there to die.
Act V, Scene 1
Master Shallow insists that Fallstaff stay the night. Falstaff tries to resist, but Shallow will have none of it. He calls for his servant Davey, to make sure that everything is in order for Sir John’s stay. Davey makes sure that Shallow is prepared to cover some debts, which he is. The squabble a bit, but in the end Davey goes about his business. Master Shallow enters the house with Falstaff promising to follow, but first he tells Bardolph to check on the horses.
Once he is alone, Falstaff remarks how well Shallow and his servants seem to get along. They, in keeping such close company, have become very similar to each other. He decides he will use this tactic on Prince Hal. He will make himself so amenable to Hal that he will never lose the Prince’s favor.
Shallow bids him to come in and he does.
Act V, Scene 2
The Chief Justice learns from Warwick that Henry the Fourth has died and Hal is now Henry the Fifth. The Chief Justice grows concerned over what will happen to him because Henry V does not like him very much. Warwick understands that the Chief Justice definitely has it the worst, but with Henry V’s legendary temper, none of the nobles are secure in their standing. Henry IV’s other sons enter, but no one among them can offer any comfort to the Chief Justice. They only suggest he speak kindly of Falstaff now.
Henry the Fifth enters and remarks on the strangeness of being referred to as majesty. He comforts his brothers telling them he know they are sad about their father, but they shouldn’t worry about him. He is determined to rule well. He sees the concern on the Chief Justice’s face and admits that he isn’t a big fan. The Chief Justice insists he did nothing wrong. He explains that everything he did to Hal, he did at the request of Henry. He tried to do his best to wrangle the unruly son who was determined to undermine the power of his father. The Chief Justice was the unfortunate man who was caught in the middle. Henry V acknowledges that the Chief Justice provides a good argument and was clearly a man of noble service to his King. Henry V intends to keep him as Chief Justice and possibly bestow other honors on him in the hopes that he may live to wrangle Henry V’s son.
He denounces his old ways and promises to be better. He leads them forth to parliament to determine who will serve on his royal counsel.
Act V, Scene 3
Shallow, Silence, Bardolph, and Falstaff all drink merrily. Being in the company of Falstaff, all are very drunk. Davey scurries between the drunken crew, doing his best to serve them. They sing nonsense songs and constantly compliment each other, but say little of consequence.
Pistol arrives unexpectedly with news from court. He beats around the bush for a while first, getting distracted by drunken nonsense before he reveals that Henry IV has died and Hal is now Henry V. Falstaff is positive that he is now one of the most powerful men in the realm and starts promising favors. He prepares to leave for London at once.
Act V, Scene 4
Two Beadles arrest Mistress Quickly and Doll Tearsheet. Apparently some men have been murdered and it looks like they had something to do with it. This is a great scene for some insults.
Act V, Scene 5
Falstaff, with Shallow, Pistol, and Bardolph, eagerly awaits the arrival of the new King. He tells his companions how happy the King will be to see him and how much honor he will bestow on him. He wishes for a moment that he had been able to purchase better clothes, but then determines that his stained travel clothes will better show his devotion to Henry V. Everyone quite agrees. Pistol tells Falstaff that Mistress Quickly and Doll Tearsheet have been unjustly arrested and Falstaff promises to make it right.
As Henry V rides by, Falstaff fondly calls for him. Henry tells the Chief Justice to make Falstaff be quiet. Falstaff assumes it is a joke and protests. Henry V explains that he doesn’t know Falstaff. He has cast aside who he was before and has decided to banish all who led him astray. He tells his brother and the Chief Justice to see it done.
Those around Falstaff try to comfort him, but he is quite certain this was all for show and he will be called privately to the King that evening. It isn’t until Prince John and the Chief Justice return to see him sent away, that reality sets in.
Prince John prepares to go to parliament to discuss the English war with France.
A Dancer comes on stage to beg the audience’s forgiveness for the play they just watched. He promises to dance off the debt he owes them and do better in the future. He explains that another play, which covers the fate of Falstaff (spoiler alert: he dies) and promises to bring in Catherine of France. Then he asks that everyone pray for the queen.