Re: Henry IV (Part 1), Act 3
I previously quoted that passage from Richard II where the King laments his son's behavior. But I agree, we don't get much of a sense of the length of time in which Hal is behaving badly. It's mostly just alluded to.
In the passage Taylor quotes above, to some extent Hal is blaming others—"smiling pickthanks and base newsmongers"—for his bad reputation. But, yes, he is contrite and reiterates the promise in Act 1 that he will surprise everyone with noble deeds. In that sense he comes across as remarkably in tune with how he's being perceived and what he needs to do to win everyone over. As Taylor mentioned earlier, Hal is very much in control.
In Scene 2 here, the King discusses the fine art of creating a public image. It doesn't look good for Hal to be seen with low-borns, the King says. he himself has "plucked allegiance" by dressing in humility.
"And then I stole all courtesy from heaven,
And dressed myself in such humility
That I did pluck allegiance from men’s hearts,
Loud shouts and salutations from their mouths,
Even in the presence of the crownèd King.
Thus did I keep my person fresh and new,
My presence, like a robe pontifical,
Ne'er seen but wondered at, and so my state,
Seldom but sumptuous, showed like a feast
And won by rareness such solemnity.
Funny thing, the King must not be doing that great of a job of honing his public image since he now faces a rebellion from Hotspur and co.
I liked the Scene 1 where Hotspur and his kin are dividing up England for themselves after they conquer the King's forces. Just a bit of hubris here?