Formerly Henry Bolingbroke. Father to John of Lancaster, Thomas of Clarence, Humphrey of Gloucester, and Prince Hal. He gained the throne by deposing Richard II, but the innocent king's death has led to civil unrest all through Henry IV's reign. He dreams of leading a Crusade to the Holy Land to atone for Richard II's murder, but time is running out for him. He is a sick old man, anxious about the future of his kingdom under Prince Hal.
Later King Henry V. Son of Henry IV. Brother to John of Lancaster, Thomas of Clarence, and Humphrey of Gloucester. Although he has lived his youth in bad company, an idler and frequenter of bars and whorehouses, Hal intends to become a responsible king. This transformation will mean the rejection of Falstaff and his crowd. He has planned all along to do this, making his reign seem all the more glorious in light of his unruly youth.
John of Lancaster
Also called Prince John. Son of Henry IV. Brother to Hal, Thomas of Clarence, and Humphrey of Gloucester. Always the dutiful son, John of Lancaster has already been entrusted by his father with important responsibilities. Prince John is cold, ruthless, and dutiful. His treachery makes possible the bloodless defeat of the rebels. For him, there is no mercy in justice.
Thomas of Clarence
Son of Henry IV. Brother to Hal, John of Lancaster, and Humphrey of Gloucester. Closest to Hal of all the brothers, Thomas is advised by Henry IV to remain close to the prince. He will act as mediator between Hal and the others. Thomas is a warm and affectionate boy, full of real concern for his father's health.
Humphrey of Gloucester
Son of Henry IV. Brother to Hal, John of Lancaster, and Thomas of Clarence.
Earl of Northumberland
Also called Henry Percy. Father of (the now deceased) Harry Hotspur. One of the powerful noblemen who makes war against Henry IV, he abandons the other rebels at a critical moment.
Wife to Henry Percy, she argues for him to abandon the other rebels. Having lost her son, she sees no need to lose her husband. She suggests flight to Scotland.
Daughter in law of Northumberland and Northumberland's wife. Widow of Harry Hotspur. Lady Percy argues persuasively that caution is the best course of action; she wins over Northumberland, who decides to abandon the other rebels and flee to Scotland.
Archbishop of York
Also called Richard Scroop. Rebel against King Henry IV. The Archbishop bears great hatred for King Henry IV because of the murder of Richard II. He is a powerful man, capable of swaying the hearts of commoners. At Gaultree, he makes the critical error of trusting John of Lancaster.
Rebel against King Henry IV. He is rightfully distrustful of Henry IV's emissaries, and argues that the rebels should trust in strength of arms. He is won over by the others, at the cost of all of their lives.
Lord Hastings, Lord Bardolph, Travers, Morton
Rebels against King Henry IV.
Sir John Colevile
Rebel against Henry IV. He is captured by Falstaff. The scene is comic until John of Lancaster enters and orders Colevile's execution.
Earl of Westmoreland
One of King Henry IV's most trusted advisors, he aids in the deception against the rebels at Gaultree. His honorable reputation and skills as a diplomat help to win the rebel leaders' trust.
Earl of Warwick
Another of King Henry IV's advisors, he advises the king in his last days. Warwick correctly sees that Hal's roguish behavior will end when Hal sits in the throne.
Earl of Surrey, Sir John Blunt, Gower, Harcourt
Men who support King Henry IV.
Lord Chief Justice
Loyal and reliable advisor to the king. He has had a stormy relationship with Hal, whose past roguishness has put him into conflict with the Chief Justice. The Lord Chief Justice and Falstaff have a very adversarial relationship with each other. They see themselves as being in conflict with each other for the heart of the prince. The conflict ends when Hal, after Henry IV's death, asks the Lord Chief Justice to act as his father.
Sir John Falstaff
Called Falstaff or Sir John. Fat, irreverent, and old, Falstaff is one of Shakespeare's most popular creations. His humorous speeches are some of the highlights of 1 Henry IV, and he has moments in the spotlight in this play as well. However, the tone of 2 Henry IV is considerable darker than the tone of its predecessor; in this world, Falstaff seems increasingly out of place. We see some of the less flattering aspects of his character here, and his vulnerability becomes increasingly clear. The play ends with Hal's betrayal of Falstaff.
Loudmouthed, hot-tempered Poins is one of the rogues in Falstaff's crowd. He takes Hal's rejection with surprising resilience.
Falstaff's loyal friend and assistant.
Although she tries to have Falstaff arrested as a debtor, Falstaff convinces her to drop the charges and lend him still more money. He has tempted her with promises of marriage for many years.
A prostitute and friend of the Eastcheap crowd. She has a foul temper. She is arrested in Act V.
Justice Robert Shallow
Old friend of Falstaff's, Justice Shallow has prospered while Falstaff has merely grown older and fatter. Having heard that Falstaff is close to the crown prince, he tries to use his old association with Falstaff to his advantage.
Cousin to Justice Shallow.
Justice Shallow's servant.
Mouldy, Shadow, Wart, Feeble, and Bullcalf
Men of Gloucestershire, recruited by Shallow and Falstaff to serve in King Henry IV's army. Mouldy and Bullcalf bribe their way out.
Officers in London.
Rumor and Epilogue
Rumor speaks the play's induction, and Epilogue delivers the close.
Various Drawers (Waiters), Officers, Servants, Messengers, Soldiers, Attendants
Henry IV Part 2 Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Henry IV Part 2 is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.