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Owen Glendower, a Welsh rebel, poses a threat in the west.Archibald, the Earl of Douglasa Scottish rebelposes a threat in the north.How he attained knighthood is a mystery, for he would rather run than fight or storm a tavern than a castle.
It is the autumn of 1401, about two years after Henry Bolingbroke became king of England as Henry IV. Through political machination, he forced the previous king, Richard II, to abdicate on September 30, 1399.
Henry claimed the throne as a descendant of Henry III, who ruled England from 1216 (when he was only nine) to 1272.
He delivers one of Shakespeare's most famous lines: "The better part of valour is discretion" (often misquoted as "Discretion is the better part of valour").
: Son of the Earl of Northumberland (the elder Henry Percy).
The king extols Hotspurs deeds and wishes that his own son and heir to the throne, Prince Henry (known formally as the Prince of Wales and informally, to his friends, simply as Hal or Harry), were more like Hotspur.
At that very moment, Prince Hal is busy pursuing merriment in London with his old pal and surrogate father, Sir John Falstaffa fat, wine-swilling, food-stuffing, good-for-nothing braggart, robber, and loafer.
Shakespeare depicts Hotspur as a very young man, perhaps in his late teens or early twenties.
The historical Hotspur, however, was thirty-nine at the time of the Battle of Shrewsbury, recounted in : Lords, officers, sheriff, vintner (wine merchant), chamberlain (manager of an inn in Act 1, Scene 2), drawers (tapsters or bartenders), carriers, travelers, attendants, ostler (hostler, a person at an inn or a stable in charge of the horses).
About five months after Richard abdicated, one of the Bolingbrokes supporters murdered Richard.
(The murder of Richard is Shakespeares interpretation of history.