As mentioned in the commentary, women characters in 1 Henry IV have fewer lines than in any other history play by Shakespeare.  Since Catrin Glendower’s lines are in Welsh (and not part of the count) and Mistress Quickly’s are few (though she is an important presence in the tavern scenes), the main character is Elizabeth ‘Kate’ Mortimer, Hotspur’s wife.  What does she contribute to the play? Does she have importance in herself?  Does she have importance in relation to Hotspur, whose character would not be as fully developed if she were absent from the play? Does she have importance in comparison and contrast to the other women characters in the play?  You need not take up all of these questions; that is, feel free to focus on what seems to you most interesting.  To make this exercise most profitable however, try to extend the evidence you present beyond what she says and what others say of her to include how she speaks (her style) and what she does (her actions, as implied by her lines).


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