Act IV Scene 3
In the confusion that follows, Falstaff encounters Sir John Coleville. Coleville, apparently believing that Falstaff is a fearsome warrior, yields to him.
Prince John and Westmoreland enter and call off the pursuit of the rebel stragglers. The Prince sees Falstaff and rebukes him for turning up when everything is coming to an end. Falstaff replies that he has come as fast as he can, and has taken Sir John Coleville, a courageous knight, prisoner. Prince John is skeptical, but Falstaff continues to boast of his exploits. Prince John gives instructions for Coleville to be sent with the other rebels to York for execution.
Prince John and Westmoreland exit, bound for the court in London, where the King is sick.
Left on his own, Falstaff makes disparaging remarks about Prince John, since he knows the Prince does not like him. One of Prince Johns deficiencies, according to Falstaff, is that he does not drink wine, and Falstaff then sings the praises of his favorite drink. Prince Henry, in Falstaffs view, owes his admirable qualities to his choice of fine wine.
Falstaff heads for Gloucestershire for another encounter with Justice Shallow.
This episode resembles the scene after the battle of Shrewsbury in Henry IV, Part 1, when Falstaff claimed to have been the man who killed Hotspur. The scene also helps to bring out the contrast between Prince Henry and Prince John, seen from Falstaffs point of view. Prince Henry is presented as a warm, vital personality, but Prince John is all coldness and calculation. (But note the change that comes upon Prince Henry when he ascends to the throne and becomes Henry V at the end of the play. Also, the character of Henry V, in the play of that title, has aroused criticisms similar to those that have been leveled against Prince John in this play.)
Act IV Scene 3