1 HENRY IV
a synoptic, alphabetical character list
ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
Richard Scroop, Archbishop of York, belongs to the Percy faction opposing King Henry IV. The king is aware of the Archibishop's dissent, and Scroop fears the Percy faction is too weak to defeat the forces loyal to the king.
Archibald is the Earl of Douglas and part of the Percy faction opposing King Henry IV. At Shrewsbury, he is quite proud of himself for killing the man that he thinks is the king; he discovers, however, that he has instead killed Sir Walter Blunt, who along with others has been engaged in a common battle stratagem of the time: that of dressing in the king's armor.
Bardolph is one of Falstaff's cronies who helps Prince Henry set Falstaff up for the "fake robbery." He is entrusted by Prince Henry with letters for Prince John and the Earl of Westmoreland.
Bolingbroke is King Henry IV's family name, also seem as Bullingbrook in variant editions. The name is used sarcastically by Hotspur in referring
to the king.
King Henry IV's family name is Bullingbrook, also seen as Bolingbroke in variant editions. The name is used sarcastically by Hotspur in referring to the king.
Butler is a servant of Hotspur sent to bring horses from the sheriff; he brings but a single, crop-eared roan.
Falstaff plans to mimic Cambyses as a model for the part of King Henry in the charade between Falstaff and Prince Hal. King Cambyses was the son of Cyrus, king of Persia. His six-year reign involved the overthrow of Egypt and the interruption of the Jerusalem Temple restoration.
The Chamberlain serves as the master of rooms at the Rochester Inn. He supplies Gadshill with information concerning the movements of travelers carrying money.
Never appearing on stage, Clifton is a loyalist to whom Prince Henry plans to appeal for reinforcements at Shrewsbury.
Dame Partlet is a seldom-used name for the Hostess Mistress Quickly at the Boar's Head Tavern in Eastcheap.
Dick is a tapster at the Boar's Head Tavern in Eastcheap. He enjoys a drink with Prince Henry after the latter's joke on Falstaff.
EARL OF ANGUS
Robert, Earl of Angus, never appears on stage but is listed as a prisoner of Hotspur.
EARL OF ATHOL
A "ghost character." Although never appearing on stage, the Earl of Athol is listed as a prisoner of Hotspur.
EARL OF DOUGLAS
Archibald, Earl of Douglas, is part of the Percy faction opposing King Henry. At Shrewsbury he thinks he has slain the king, but instead he has killed Sir Walter Blunt, who has worn the king's armor.
EARL OF MARCH
Edmund Mortimer, the Earl of March, is brother-in-law to Hotspur and part of the Percy faction opposing King Henry. He adores his Welsh wife but speaks as little Welsh as she does English.
EARL OF MENTEITH
A "ghost character." Although never appearing on stage, the Earl of Menteith is listed as one of Hotspur's prisoners.
EARL OF MURRAY
Thomas, Earl of Murray, does not appear on stage but is listed as one of Hotspur's prisoners.
Edmund Mortimer is the Earl of March, brother-in-law to Hotspur and a member of the Percy faction opposing King Henry. He and his wife have a devoted relationship despite her lack of English and Mortimer's lack of Welsh.
FALSTAFF, SIR JOHN
Also known as Jack, Falstaff is a lovable reprobate who frequents the bars and bawds of London, providing a poor role model for Prince Hal, who often companions Falstaff. Falstaff shows little respect for royalty; to him, Prince Hal is just another drinking companion who just happens to have the advantage of one day being able perhaps to pass preferment along to Falstaff. There is no reverence whatsoever in Falstaff's charade with Hal; Sir John depicts King Henry as mean and graceless, and he does not quite realize how close to the truth Hal touches when the roles are reversed and Hal provides a foreshadowing of how he will behave when he is sovereign himself. Much given to food and drink, Falstaff is a "tun" of a man. He arrives on the battlefield of Shrewsbury without a sword, having sold it for a bottle of sack. He unhappily confronts the Douglas, who leaves him for dead. When Hal finds the fat man lying on the field, he delivers a beautiful eulogy over him saying he could have better spared a better man than his old, fat friend. Falstaff, however, was merely playing dead to avoid injury or capture. Later he claims (falsely) to have killed Hotspur at Shrewsbury. In a play with Honor as its theme, Falstaff is its antithesis.
This Carrier is one of two delivery men questioned by Gadshill about their approximate arrival time in London.
Francis is a tapster at the Boar's Head Tavern in Eastcheap. He becomes the butt of Prince Hal and Poins' joke as he is summoned over and over just to hear him reply "Anon."
Gadshill is a companion of Falstaff. He obtains information from Rochester Inn about travelers and their money pursuant to Falstaff's robbery plan. His name may suggest a metonymy because Gadshill is also the place of the robbery. He later goads Falstaff on to offer Hal a fictitious account of how they were themselves robbed, not knowing it was Hal and Poins in disguise who robbed them.
Gilliams is servant and message carrier for Hotspur.
Hal is the nickname for Henry, Prince of Wales and son of King Henry IV.
The nickname is used most often by Falstaff and company.
Harry Monmouth is a name used by Hotspur to refer to Henry, Prince of Wales.
King Henry IV of England, also referred to as Bullingbrook, suffers from unrest over the profligate behavior of his son Henry and from guilt at his own untoward rise to the throne. His continual talk of going on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land attests to his discomfort, but political unrest in his kingdom prevents the king's journey. Opposed by the Archbishop of York and a faction involving the Earl of Northumberland, Henry Percy, the king is finally obliged to battle at Shrewsbury, where his forces are victorious and where also he discovers that his profligate son, Henry, is noble, worthy and valiant. The King plays a surprisingly small role considering that the play bears his name.
The name of Henry Percy refers to two different but related individuals in the play:
Both are part of the faction opposing King Henry IV. The father claims illness and does not bring his troops to support the campaign at Shrewsbury; the son fights valiantly at Shrewsbury but is killed by Prince Henry.
- Henry Percy the elder is the Earl of Northumberland and father of
- Henry Percy/Hotspur, the young and valiant warrior whose theme is Honor.
HENRY, PRINCE OF WALES
Henry is the king's eldest son and heir-apparent to the English throne. Referred to by Hotspur as Harry Monmouth and by Falstaff and friends as Prince Hal, Henry has been a profligate, carousing about London and grieving his father. He encourages Falstaff's schemes while making the most of opportunities to cause disorder and play jokes. When Falstaff plans and carries out a robbery upon travelers, Henry disguises himself and (along with Poins) sets upon Falstaff and robs him, thoroughly enjoying the tall tale Falstaff later tells of this escapade. But Henry is growing up and speaks to himself of how his life shall take a turn for the better once he is called upon to reveal his true self. Early in the play, he reveals in soliloquy that his profligate behavior is only part of his elaborate plan. When he casts away his assumed recklessness the world will see him as valiant, he will win back his father's esteem, and he will also win favor for the Lancastrian House. His act is therefore Machiavellian in the truest sense. We see his future promise in his courageous acts at Shrewsbury as he suffers a wound, rescues the king, and kills Hotspur; we also see a foreshadowing of how he will later behave toward the incorrigible Falstaff.
Also known as Mistress Quickly and occasionally as Dame Partlet, the Hostess at the Boar's Head Tavern in Eastcheap is well acquainted with Falstaff and his carousing companions. She is also familiar (but not overly so) with Prince Hal, who spends a great deal of time with Falstaff at her establishment.
Hotspur is Henry Percy the younger, son of the Earl of Northumberland. Hot-headed and rash, Hotspur is a key player in the faction opposing King Henry IV. His temper flares easily, as we see early in the play when he refuses to hand over certain prisoners upon the demand of the king. The king admires him as "the theme of honor's tongue" and wishes that it could be discovered that Hotspur and not Hal was his real son, switched at infancy. Very much in love with his wife Lady Percy, Hotspur yet keeps from her the details of the rebellion in which he plans to play a part. He chooses to forge ahead with the Shrewsbury battle despite a lack of promised reinforcements, including that of his own father, believing that a victory with such short odds will be all the more glorious. Hotspur is slain at Shrewsbury by Prince Henry.
JOHN OF GAUNT
John of Gaunt is Prince Henry's deceased grandfather. He is mentioned in passing by Falstaff.
LADY KATE PERCY
Lady Kate Percy, sister to Edmund Mortimer the Earl of March, is the doting wife of Hotspur. Her conversations with her husband combine adoration with pleasant sexuality, and her care for her husband's safety is evident in her remonstrations that he keep no secrets from her.
Daughter of Owen Glendower, this wife of Edmund Mortimer the Earl of March is known for the beauty of her Welsh song; indeed, she speaks only Welsh, thus offering a sweet challenge in communication to her husband, who speaks no Welsh at all.
Unnamed in the play, this primly dressed and perfumed lord comes to Hotspur bearing the king's demand for Hotspur's prisoners; Hotspur calls the man a popinjay.
A "ghost character." Lord Stafford is appointed by King Henry as constable of the kingdom and is reported as slain by Douglas on the same day.
This Messenger brings important news to Hotspur that his father is ill and cannot send support troops to Shrewsbury. He also reports that the king has been advised of all of the rebels' activities.
As Hostess at the Boar's Head Tavern in Eastcheap, Mistress Quickly, occasionally known as Dame Partlet, is well acquainted with the carousing of Falstaff and company. She is also on familiar terms with Prince Hal, who also frequents the tavern.
A "ghost character." Mordake, the Earl of Fife, is listed as one of Hotspur's prisoners.
A "ghost character." Unnamed and mentioned only in passing by Prince Hal, the term refers to Hal's mother.
Edward Poins, also called Ned, is a companion of Falstaff's who presents a plan for the robbing of the Canterbury pilgrims. He is Hal's compatriot in turning the robbery into a huge joke on Falstaff.
Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, is the father of Hotspur. Part of the faction opposing King Henry, Northumberland pleads illness and sends no troops to support his son Hotspur at Shrewsbury. Shrewsbury becomes the losing battle for the Percy faction.
OLD LORD OF THE COUNCIL
A "ghost character." Although never appearing on stage, the Old Lord of the Council is mentioned by Falstaff as a poor role model for Prince Hal.
Part of the faction opposing King Henry IV, Owen Glendower is father-in-law to Edmund Mortimer. He has a tendency to believe in the influence of celestial bodies on the lives of humanity, and his delay in sending troops to the Percys at Shrewsbury contributes to their defeat.
Peto is among the group composed of himself, Poins, Bardolph, and Hal who set upon Falstaff for the pilgrim robbery joke at Gadshill.
Prince John of Lancaster is one of King Henry's sons and brother to Prince Hal. John deports himself well in general-far better than does his brother Henry-and does well in battle at Shrewsbury. He becomes an object of Hal's respect by the end of the play.
Ralph is one of the denizens of the Boar's Head Tavern in Eastcheap. He is told by Francis to look in the Pomegranate Room for an unspecified item.
The deceased King Richard II was sovereign before King Henry IV. His loss of rule came about due to the machinations of the Percy faction, who supported Bollingbroke/Henry IV, the same faction that would now try to dethrone Henry.
Richard Scroop holds the title of Archbishop or Lord of York. He is part of the Percy faction opposing King Henry and feels his faction is too weak to defeat the king. He also fears the length of King Henry's vengeance should the Percys lose at Shrewsbury.
A "ghost character." Mentioned in passing by a Carrier, Robin Ostler is the deceased stableman of the Rochester Inn.
This Carrier is one of two deliverymen questioned by Gadshill concerning their approximate arrival time in London.
Unnamed, the Sheriff searches at the Boar's Head Tavern for a fat man seen entering there after the robbery of two gentlemen travelers.
A "ghost character." Although never appearing on stage, Shirley is a loyalist knight listed as slain at Shrewsbury.
SIR JOHN BRACY
A loyalist to the crown, Sir John Bracy is sent by King Henry to the Boar's Head Tavern with a message requiring Prince Henry to come to court for discussion of the forthcoming Percy war.
SIR NICHOLAS GAWSEY
A "ghost character." Although never appearing on stage, Sir Nicholas Gawsey is a knight reported as sent by Prince Henry from Shrewsbury to obtain reinforcements.
SIR RICHARD VERNON
Part of the Percy rebel faction, Sir Richard Vernon carries news to Hotspur concerning the number of the king's troops and t he delay in help from Glendower for the Percys. He is capture at Shrewsbury and sent to death by King Henry's order.
SIR WALTER BLUNT
Supremely loyal to King Henry, Blunt serves as emissary to the Percy camp, bringing the king's offer to hear the rebels' complaints and grant pardons. Blunt is killed by Douglas in the ensuing Shrewsbury battle; disguised in the king's armor, Blunt offers the ultimate sacrifice.
TOM THE DRAWER
Tom the Drawer is a tapster at the Boar's Head Tavern in Eastcheap. He shares a round with Prince Hal following the pilgrim robbery joke played upon Falstaff.
TOM THE OSTLER
Tom the Ostler is a stableman at the Rochester Inn.
Only mentioned. Turk Gregory is the term used by Falstaff to refer to Pope Gregory VII and his valor.
VERNON, SIR RICHARD
Sir Richard Vernon is part of the Percy faction opposing King Henry IV. He plainly explains his grievances to the king and purposely withholds from the Percys the king's offer of grace. Captured at the battle of Shrewsbury, Vernon is ordered executed along with Worcester for his treachery.
The Vintner is the unnamed wine master at the Boar's Head Tavern in Eastcheap. He chides Francis for inactivity when the latter is summoned simultaneously by several clients, including Prince Hal.
Cousin of King Henry IV, the Earl of Westmoreland is much given to remarks upon astrological portents. He sets forth with Prince John on the king's order to battle the Percy faction.
The Earl of Worcester is the uncle of Hotspur and part of the Percy faction opposing King Henry IV. He plainly explains his grievances to the king and purposely withholds from the Percys the king's offer of grace. Captured at the battle of Shrewsbury, Worcester is ordered executed along with Vernon for his treachery.