Rumor picks up from the end of Henry IV, Part 1.

Act 1

Scene 1

The Earl of Northumberland learns that the rebels have lost the battle, Hotspur is dead, and the Earl of Worcester has been taken captive.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Prologue & Act 1: Scene 1.

Scene 2

Falstaff has earned a measure of social rank and importance by falsely claiming that he killed Hotspur. Nonetheless, Falstaff's poor health, poor reputation, and criminal past still follow him.

Scene 3

The rebels agree that they should mobilize their forces against King Henry, even though they are unsure whether Northumberland will send his much-needed soldiers to support them.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Act 1: Scenes 2 & 3.

Act 2

Scene 1

Mistress Quickly attempts to have Falstaff arrested for his unpaid debt, but he manages to get her to lend him the money to pay the debt. Falstaff learns that King Henry is returning to London after fighting in Wales.

Scene 2

Prince Henry returns home, tired from battle, concerned at his father’s ill health, and regretting his drunken younger days. He and Poins decide to dress as servants in order to play a trick on Falstaff.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Act 2: Scenes 1 & 2.

Scene 3

Northumberland is convinced by his wife and daughter-in-law to stay away from the fighting.

Scene 4

Falstaff has dinner with Doll Tearsheet, his favorite prostitute, and insults Prince Henry and Poins, who are disguised as barmen. The resulting argument is broken up when news arrives that King Henry is back in London, causing Prince Henry to leave to see his father.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Act 2: Scenes 3 & 4.

Act 3

Scene 1

King Henry muses to himself about how anxious and restless the burdens of rulership have made him. Then King Henry, the Earl of Warwick, and the Earl of Surrey discuss the current state of affairs of the various rebellions.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Act 3: Scene 1.

Scene 2

Two Justices meet Falstaff with recruits for his army unit. In typical fashion, Falstaff lets anyone who pays a bribe return home without having to join.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Act 3: Scene 2.

Act 4

Scene 1

The rebel leaders have assembled their armies when Westmoreland arrives saying that if the rebels’ demands are reasonable, Prince John is willing to grant them on the King’s behalf. John accepts their demands and agrees to grant them if they send their armies home. They agree, but as soon as their armies have dispersed, John orders the arrest and execuction of the rebel leaders.

Scene 2

Coleville meets Falstaff in the forest and surrenders to him because Falstaff has a false reputation for being a skilled fighter. Falstaff presents Coleville to Prince John, who sends him off with the other rebels for execution. In a closing speech, Falstaff voices reservations about Prince John's tactics.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Act 4: Scenes 1 & 2.

Scene 3

A very ill King Henry tells his younger sons that he wants to join a crusade when all the rebellions are put down. News arrives that the rebel leaders have been executed and Northumberland is overthrown. King Henry and Prince Henry reconcile.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Act 4: Scene 3.

Act 5

Scene 1

Falstaff returns to Gloucestershire and makes fun of Justice Shallow.

Scene 2

King Henry IV has died, and Prince Henry is now King Henry V. The Lord Chief Justice worries that because he was always reprimanding Prince Henry, he will suffer under the new King, but Henry V says that he understands that the Justice was right, and that Henry would like the Justice to serve as a mentor.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Act 5: Scenes 1 & 2.

Scene 3

Word arrives to Falstaff that Prince Henry is now king. Everyone is excited because they all assume that Falstaff, as Prince Henry's closest friend, will now be elevated to a position power.

Scene 4

Mistress Quickly and Doll are arrested for their part in the death of a man whom Pistol beat up.

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Act 5: Scenes 3 & 4.

Scene 5

Falstaff meets King Henry V during his coronation march, but Henry viciously rebukes him and casts him off. Falstaff and his companions are arrested.


The Epilogue asks the forgiveness of the audience for the play's "badness" and requests applause. It also offers a prayer for Queen Elizabeth and promises a sequel to the current play (which will be Henry V).

Read a full Summary & Analysis of Act 5: Scene 5 & Epilogue.