Henry IV Part 1: Novel Summary: Act 5 scene 5

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In the presence of his two sons and Westmoreland, the King reproaches Worcester, who with Vernon has been taken prisoner, for failing to convey the King's offer of a pardon. The King then sentences both rebels to death.

Prince Hal informs the King that Douglas has been captured. The King allows the Prince to do with him what he sees fit. Hal releases Douglas, as a tribute to his valor.

The King then disperses his forces. John and Westmoreland are to head to York to confront Northumberland and Scroop, while the King and Prince Hal head to Wales to fight Glendower and Mortimer (the Earl of March).

Analysis
The final scene shows royal power acting in a fair and responsible manner. Henry IV metes out justice (in the cases of Worcester and Vernon) but he allows Prince Hal to show mercy to Douglas. Prince Hal's act of magnanimity towards his adversary completes his transformation from his earlier irresponsible self into a man who is able to do justice to his status as heir to the throne.

The play ends with victory in one battle for the King, but the civil wars are far from over, as his final speech makes plain. Shakespeare will resume the troubled reign of the King (and the antics of Falstaff) in Henry IV, Part 2.

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