Using Professor Rodes’ midpoint theory midpoint theory, let’s take a look at The First Part of Henry the Fourth.
There are 2993 lines in the play, so the midpoint takes place at line 1497, which occurs in Act Three, Scene One. Hotspur is meeting with fellow rebels Glendower and Mortimer. Glendower has stated that his own birth was met by earthquakes and strange lights in the sky, as if Nature itself was afraid of him. Hotspur responds,
O, then the earth shook to see the heavens on fire,
And not in fear of your nativity.
Diseased nature oftentimes breaks forth
In strange eruptions; oft the teeming earth
Is with a kind of colic pinch'd and vex'd
By the imprisoning of unruly wind
Within her womb; which, for enlargement striving,
Shakes the old beldam earth and topples down
Steeples and moss-grown towers. At your birth
Our grandam earth, having this distemperature,
In passion shook.
Diseased nature, Hotspur references. Is this the nature Bolingbroke created when he usurped Richard? Is this the nature that will engender the War of the Roses, and that the War of the Roses will ultimately end (with the death of Richard III) bring back into balance?
Or is this just an example of Hotspur’s impolitic acts, demonstrating why Hotspur is not a viable king? (of course, Hal at this point isn’t exactly a workable monarch, either)
Regardless, only one thing is certain FOR ME: this is the first play (and we’re now 15 plays in, well over a third, and nearly one-half of the way through) for which Rodes’ theory doesn’t work absolute miracles for me.
Am I missing something?
Someone, keep the streak alive!