List of Characters

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King Henry IV—King of England who usurped power from Richard II.

Lord John of Lancaster—younger son to King Henry; brother to Henry, Prince of Wales.

Earl of Westmoreland—nobleman; loyal member of King Henry’s court.

Sir Walter Blunt—nobleman and loyalist to King Henry.

Henry, Prince of Wales—elder son to King Henry IV; called Hal by his comrades; future King of England.

Sir John Falstaff—friend to Hal; chief member of a gang of ruffians with whom Hal associates.

Thomas Percy—Earl of Worcester; brother to Henry Percy; uncle to Hotspur.

Henry Percy—Earl of Northumberland; father to Henry Percy (Hotspur).

Henry Percy—son to Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland; called Hotspur.

Lord Mortimer—Edmund, Earl of March.

Lady Mortimer—wife to Edmund; daughter to Owen Glendower.

Owen Glendower—Welsh rebel; father to Lady Mortimer.

Archibald—Earl of Douglas; Scot captured by Hotspur.

Sir Richard Vernon—sympathizer to the Percy Rebellion.

Lady Percy—wife to Hotspur; sister to Lord Mortimer.

Gadshill—member of Falstaff’s gang of thieves who arranges robberies.

Poins—a member of Falstaff’s gang.

Bardolph—comedic member of Falstaff’s gang of ruffians.

Peto—another gang member.

Francis—waiter at the Boar’s Head Tavern.

Vintner—innkeeper at the Boar’s Head Tavern.

Mistress Quickly—hostess at the Boar’s Head Tavern.

Archbishop of York—Richard Scroop; member of the Percy Rebellion.

Sir Michael—friend to the Archbishop of York.

Carriers—men who deliver goods.

Chamberlain—employee at the inn who serves meals.

Ostler—manager of the inn.

Travelers—traders on their way to London.

Servant—works at Warkworth Castle in Northumberland.

Sheriff—searches inn for money reported stolen.

Messenger—men who bring news to rebels.

Characters Discussed

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King Henry IV

King Henry IV, England’s troubled ruler. Haunted by his action in the deposition of his predecessor and kinsman, Richard II, and indirectly in that man’s death, as well as deeply disturbed by the apparent unworthiness of his irresponsible eldest son, he also faces the external problem of rebellion. He wishes to join a crusade to clear his conscience and to carry out a prophecy that he is to die in Jerusalem.

Prince Hal

Prince Hal, later King Henry V. A boisterous youth surrounded by bad companions, he matures rapidly with responsibility, saves his father’s life in battle, and kills the dangerous rebel Hotspur.

Sir John Falstaff

Sir John Falstaff, a comical, down-at-the-heels follower of Prince Hal, considered by many to be one of William Shakespeare’s finest creations. He is the typical braggart soldier with many individualizing traits. As he says, he is not only witty himself but also the cause of wit in other men. He is a cynical realist, a fantastic liar, and a persuasive rascal as well as apparently being a successful combat soldier. His colossal body appropriately houses his colossal personality.

Thomas Percy

Thomas Percy, the earl of Worcester, a leading rebel against King Henry IV. He conceals the king’s offer of generous terms from his nephew Hotspur, thereby causing the young warrior’s death. He is executed for treason.

Henry Percy, Sr.

Henry Percy, Sr., the earl of Northumberland, the earl of Worcester’s brother. Having played an important part in the deposition of Richard II and the enthronement of Henry IV, he feels that he and his family are entitled to more power and wealth than they receive. He is also influenced to rebellion by his crafty brother and his fiery son. He fails his cause by falling ill or feigning illness before the Battle of Shrewsbury, and he does not appear there.

Henry Percy, Jr.

Henry Percy, Jr., called...

(This entire section contains 581 words.)

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Hotspur, the son of Northumberland. A courageous, hot-tempered youth, he seeks to pluck glory from the moon. He is a loving, teasing husband, but his heart is more on the battlefield than in the boudoir. He rages helplessly at the absence of his father and Glendower from the Battle of Shrewsbury. In the battle, he falls by Prince Hal’s hand.

Edmund Mortimer

Edmund Mortimer, the earl of March, Hotspur’s brother-in-law, designated heir to the English throne by Richard II. Captured while fighting against Glendower, he marries his captor’s daughter. King Henry’s refusal to ransom him leads to the rebellion of the Percys. He too fails to join Hotspur at Shrewsbury.

Owen Glendower

Owen Glendower, the Welsh leader. Hotspur finds his mystical self-importance irritating and almost precipitates internal strife among King Henry’s opponents. Glendower also fails Hotspur at Shrewsbury.


Archibald, the earl of Douglas, a noble Scottish rebel. After killing Sir Walter Blunt and two others whom he mistakes for King Henry at Shrewsbury, he is prevented from killing the king by Prince Hal. After the battle, Prince Hal generously releases him without ransom.

Richard Scroop

Richard Scroop, the archbishop of York, a principal rebel. He thinks to make peace with King Henry and take later advantage of his weakness but is tricked by Prince John, Hal’s younger brother, and executed.

Sir Walter Blunt

Sir Walter Blunt, a heroic follower of the king. At the Battle of Shrewsbury, he pretends to Douglas that he is the king, thus bringing death on himself.