Henry IV, Part 2 | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Henry IV, Part 2 | Act 5, Scene 1 | Summary

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Summary

At Justice Shallow's home in Gloucestershire, Shallow tries to convince Falstaff to stay. He is interrupted by one of his servants, Davy, and the two go outside to speak of various matters, including how to use Falstaff's connections to curry favor. Shallow convinces Falstaff to stay. Falstaff criticizes Shallow and his servants for not knowing their proper places. He finds them foolish, but he also wishes to amuse Prince Hal with stories about them.

Analysis

With Falstaff's return to Gloucestershire, Shakespeare contrasts the thorny and elevated life of the nobility with the more rustic aspects of country justices. He treads the fine line of appealing to both his noble patrons and the commoners (groundlings) in the cheap seats of The Globe. This interplay of higher- and lower-class settings is typical of Shakespeare and often provides comic relief or commentary on the more somber royal events. In this case it is a useful reminder that despite the high stakes of rebellion and rule, private life continues.

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