So, where did all this rage from Hotspur come from? I find it interesting that the Percy family, who were instrumental in disposing of Richard II, are now conspiring to get rid of Henry IV. Hotspur, also known as Harry Percy, started off as a mild young boy in Richard II. His father, Lord Northumberland, was Henry Bolingbroke’s main supporter when Henry returned to England from exile to claim his father’s estate and title. Not only did Northumberland help with Henry succeeding this goal, but he pushed Henry to the throne. In Richard II, all Henry said was that he wanted to claim his estate. All of these events happened while Hotspur looked in in childlike wonder. Now, in 1 Henry IV, Worcester brother claims a little detail that neither Northumberland or Hotspur denies: that Lord Mortimer, Hotspur’s brother-in-law, is the rightful heir to the throne. It’s like these guys aren’t happy with any sort of king. In fact, Northumberland concurs with his brother Worcester’s claim. Hotspur says: “But soft, I pray you; did King Richard then / Proclaim my brother Edmund Mortimer / Heir to the crown?” (1.3.153-155). Northumberland responds with: “He did; myself did hear it,” (1.3.156). Now, I’m dumbfounded by this. Why would Northumberland assist Henry’s rise to the throne if he knew that Richard already named an heir? I call shenanigans on this. I believe the Percy family is just choosing to believe its own bullshit here, and they want to help their own man rise to power because they want to keep their ransom money for all of the war prisoners they take. If I were Henry IV, I would find a way to take these men out. They’ve taken down a king before, and he knows they’re looking to do it again.
On another note, I really like how the this rebellion storyline is paired with a subplot about Prince Hal’s capers and his abuse of Falstaff. It’s funny that just as many lines, if not more, are devoted to a Prince partaking in a robbery of a bunch of robbers. I’m waiting to see how this could fit in with the larger plot, even though this storyline has been given a lot more attention than the more serious matter. Prince Hal’s scenes highly contrast him with his father, who is pretty straight-laced. Hal, on the other hand, gets drunk with his commoner buddies whose main form of entertainment is robbing the wealthy. I predict that Prince Hal is going to thwart the actions of the Percy family in some form, thus proving himself an upstanding citizen and redeeming himself from the degenerate actions he participated in in the past, paving the way for him to become king after the conclusions of the Henry IV plays.