Act IV Scene 5
Prince Henry enters and the others withdraw while Henry watches over the King. Believing his father has just died, Henry, with great dignity and expressions of sorrow for his father, removes the Kings crown from his pillow and places it on his own head.
After Henry leaves the room, the King wakes up and calls for Warwick, Gloucester and Clarence. He demands to know why he was left alone. The nobles reply that they left Henry with him. The King demands to know where Henry is. Then he notices that his crown is gone, and realizes that Henry has taken it. He tells Warwick to bring Henry to him. After the King speaks angrily, and in general terms, about sons ingratitude to fathers, Warwick returns and tells the King he found Henry weeping. The King still wants to know why Henry took the crown.
The Prince enters and Warwick leaves. Henry says he never thought he would see his father speak again, and the King replies that that was because he did not wish to. He then reproaches his son, telling him that he was too ready to seize power before it fell to him naturally. He expresses the belief that Henry does not love him, and says that his sons actions in taking the crown prove it. The King knows he is dying, and he speaks bitterly about his sons imminent coronation. He expects Henrys reign to be a time of great lawlessness and disorder.
The Prince replies with great respect and reverence. He returns the crown to his father, explaining that he thought the King was dead, and this caused him great sorrow. He took the crown with humility, not pride, he says.
The King accepts his explanation and extends his love to his son. He says he expects his sons reign to be more peaceful than his own, because he will inherit the crown by due succession rather than by seizing it from another, as he, Henry IV, had done. He advises his son to make wars abroad to ensure that the English nobles are occupied with such matters and do not create more rebellions at home. A foreign war will also help to erase any memories people may have of Prince Henrys irresponsible youth. Prince Henry promises that he will maintain his kingdom well.
Prince John and Warwick enter, and the dying King asks to be carried to the Jerusalem Chamber, where he will breathe his last.
This reconciliation between father and son completes the theme of Prince Hals development from irresponsible young man to a prince who is ready to take on the burden of kingship. The Kings advice to indulge in military adventures abroad in order to distract people from domestic events has been followed by many a political leader since, from the fifteenth century to our own.
Act IV Scene 5