Henry IV, Part 1, culminates in the battle of Shrewsbury between the king’s army and rebels seeking his crown. The dispute begins when Hotspur, the son of Northumberland, breaks with the king over the fate of his brother-in-law, Mortimer, a Welsh prisoner. Hotspur, Northumberland, and Hotspur’s uncle Worcester plan to take the throne, later allying with Mortimer and a Welsh leader, Glendower.
As that conflict develops, Prince Hal—Henry IV’s son and heir—carouses in a tavern and plots to trick the roguish Sir John Falstaff and his henchmen, who are planning a highway robbery. Hal and a companion will rob them of their loot—then wait for Falstaff’s lying boasts. The trick succeeds, but Prince Hal is summoned to war.
In the war, Hal saves his father’s life and then kills Hotspur, actions that help to redeem his bad reputation. Falstaff, meanwhile, cheats his soldiers, whom he leads to slaughter, and takes credit for Hotspur’s death.