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Act II, Scene 2
The scene is a street in London. Hal and Poins enter and Hal admits that he is very tired. Poins wonders, how can a prince of noble blood be so tired? Hal says because of his high birth he can’t have such humble concerns like greatness. He expresses a desire to enjoy life like a common man; Poins sarcastically replies that he shouldn’t talk so idly after having labored so hard. This conversation reveals that Hal is aware of what he is doing and what the public reaction will be, but chooses again to seek out the company of regular people. He says that he should not be sad because his father is sick. Poins replies that Hal’s grief cannot be very deep. Hal states that his heart bleeds inwardly, and in such “vile company” he can make no outward show of grief. Point flatly states that tears would be a sign of hypocrisy and not fit for a Prince. Just then Bardolph and the page enter. The Prince exclaims how Falstaff has transformed the page into an ape. When Hal inquires about Falstaff, Bardolph hands over a letter addressed to him. Falstaff has begun the letter in a formal manner and warns Hal about the events to come. The irritated Poins vows that he will soak the letter in wine and make Falstaff eat it. Hal concludes that “Well thus we play the fools with the time and the spirits of the wise sit in the clouds and mock us.” Hal learns that Falstaff is at the Boar’s Head Tavern with Quickly and Doll Tearsheet. The Prince and Poins decide to “steal upon them” and warns Bardolph not to give advance notice that he is coming. They discuss how they can eavesdrop on Falstaff without being discovered. Poins answers that they could put on leather aprons and wait on his table.
This scene gives a deep insight into Hal. The opening lines of the scene “Before God, I am exceeding wary” show that he is dissatisfied with his way of life. Prince Henry is a young, energetic, wild, and enthusiastic man who frequents alehouses, inns, taverns, tennis-courts, and such places. He tells Poins that his heart bleeds inwardly when he thinks of his sick father but he makes no outward show of grief because tears would be a sign of hypocrisy and not fit for a Prince.
The scene tells us the King’s health is not good.