At the end of Richard II we saw Henry stealthily obtain the kingship from Richard. The ease at which he accomplished this left the reader imagining Henry as a smart, powerful king who is loved by much of he kingdom.
In 1 Henry IV, on the other hand, we are presented with a man who is barely hanging on. His son is a drunken commoner who hangs out with thieves and liars. King Henry’s kingdom is overrun with fighting.
Do these two instances reflect each other? If King Henry can’t rule his own son without issues, how is he supposed to run an entire country?
So far, through all the fighting, Prince Hal has been drunk and not in any way useful. In act 2.5 Henry has sent the Sheriff to tell Harry to come home. Is this a step in the right direction? Must Henry tend his own family before his country?
In act 3.2, Henry tears into Harry for slacking off and Harry gives a strong speech as to why he has been a goof off (to make himself look better when straightened out). Is this debate enough to correct the long acquired poor habits of the prince?
3.2.132 Prince Hal proclaims “I will redeem all this on Percy’s head and in the closing of some glorious day be bold to tell you that I am your son.” Harry seems committed to righting himself.
But in act 3.3, Harry asks Falstaff to gather troops. Harry knows the kind of person Falstaff is yet he relies on this unworthy drunken liar. Can Harry really change? This action seems like he cannot.
Falstaff shows up with his pitiful army. Luckily Northumberland is ill and cannot fight so will not be sending his troops and Glyndwr cannot send troops. This leaves the king with a larger army (potentially a benefit).
Does Henry solve his issues with Harry? If so does this help win the battles? Perhaps the relationship between Henry and Harry foreshadow the relationship between Henry and the kingdom.