Henry IV Part I Act I, Scene iii: In-class exercise


This scene introduces Hotspur, the "doomsday" character, interacting with his own father and uncle and with Hal's father, the King. It also introduces the political process at work.


Please stop the video at line 122--the king's exit-- and, among others, consider these questions.


1) What does the King assert about power relationships in his first speech? How does he put his words into action? What are the sources of his power?

2) What accounts for the difference between Worcester's and Northumberland's approach?

3) What are the motives and means of Hotspur's first speech? Do they

work? What's revealed about his character here? How does his appearance intensify the characterization in his speech?

4) What's the King's purpose here in painting Mortimer as a traitor? Is he really a traitor?

5) On what basis does Hotspur defend Mortimer? Contrast his attitudes toward battlefield opponents (and hence toward battle itself) with the King's.

6) Why does the King leave at this point? Is his anger in this encounter spontaneous, strategic or both? In front of what audiences is the encounter played out?

7) Contrast it to Hotspur's anger.

Continue the video till the end of the scene.

1) How does the privacy of the second part of this scene affect the actors and affect our perception of them?

2) Contrast the young and the older men in respect to their sources of power. Does the King combine both? What will be Hal's source of power?

3) What is the relation of Hotspur's Romantic and Chivalric ideals--the concept of HONOR-- to realworld politics? What's the point of the allusions to MND in lines 198-9 and 208-210? What are some connotations of Hotspur's being "drunk with choler"? What's the point of his forgetfulness in 240ff.?

4) Why does the BBC production leave out lines 143-185? Do you follow the information presented here?

5) What's depicted about father-son relations in this scene? Connect the Hotspur-Hal linkage in line 229 with the linkage in I, i, 76-91(p.42). How are the whole play and its underlying issues in some sense driven by father-son relationships? What's signified by the BBC's scene's closing shot?