Hotspur, Mortimer, Worcester and Glendower meet in Wales. Glendower boasts about how important he is, saying that the earth shook when he was born. Hotspur mocks him and continues to goad him as Glendower persists in his conceited, boastful talk. Then Mortimer brings them to the business at hand. They all look over a map of England, and Mortimer explains how the Archbishop has divided it equally into three portions. Mortimer will get most of the south and east, Glendower gets all of Wales, and Hotspur is to receive the north. The next day they are to travel to Shrewsbury (in the English midlands, not far from the Welsh border), where they will meet up with Northumberland and Douglas the Scot. Glendower's forces are not yet ready, but Mortimer believes his forces will not be needed anyway for the next two weeks. Glendower says he will join them in less time than that.
Hotspur then complains that his share of the country is smaller than those of the other two. He points to a winding stretch of the river Trent that cuts him off from the best of his land. He says he will have the river dammed up and make it flow in a different direction. Glendower protests, saying that further down, the river bends in a way that is to his disadvantage in about the same proportion, so overall they are equal. Mortimer says the course of the river can be altered, but Glendower will have none of it. Hotspur answers him aggressively, and they fall to bickering again, after which Glendower concedes that the river may be redirected. But then Hotspur says he does not care about it, and would give three times that amount of land to a good friend.
After Glendower exits, Mortimer chides Hotspur for provoking Glendower. Hotspur says he cannot help it, because Glendower angers him with his endless, meaningless talk. Hotspur finds the Welshman tedious. Mortimer replies that Glendower is a fine gentleman, very well read, knowledgeable, brave and generous. Also, according to Mortimer, Glendower has a high opinion of Hotspur, and lets him get away with saying things to him that he would not put up with if they came from anyone else. Worcester then joins in and rebukes Hotspur for being too willful. Although this quality sometimes produces greatness and courage, it also suggests pride, haughtiness, arrogance, and other faults. Hotspur accepts his rebuke.
Glendower returns with Hotspur's wife Kate and Mortimer's Welsh wife, who is weeping at the prospect of losing her husband to the war. She speaks in Welsh, which her husband does not understand. Glendower has to translate for him. She offers to sing for Mortimer, and Glendower magically summons up some music. Hotspur and Kate lie down and listen to the woman sing a Welsh song. Hotspur tries to persuade Kate to sing, but she refuses.
The central character in this scene, as it was in Act 2, scene 3, is again Hotspur, who is a much larger character than any of the others, even the wily Glendower. Again, Hotspur clearly shows his virtues and his faults. He is quick to quarrel and take offense, claiming that his portion of the kingdom is smaller than the other two. But then he is quick to forget the offense. One of Hotspur's faults is that he lacks self-control. He has none of Prince Hal's calculating nature. He is impulsive and says what he feels. His faults are laid out explicitly by his uncle, Worcester. These faults, such as arrogance, later play a part in Hotspur's decision to go forward with the battle even though all the rebel forces are not yet in place.
Yet in spite of all his faults, as in Act 2, scene 3, Hotspur's spontaneous nature tends to get audiences on his side. His witty deflating of the puffed up, windy Glendower shows he cares nothing for a man's reputation. Hotspur is a man who calls a spade a spade, and he always expresses himself forcefully and passionately. The light-hearted banter he indulges in with his wife also shows his warm, playful nature. It is incidents such as this that make Hotspur, for many readers and playgoers, a more attractive character than Prince Hal, who always seems to be in control of himself and more distant, less willing to reveal his true nature.
However, it should also be noted that the rebels plan to divide up the country rather than unite it. The fact that they stand for disunity rather than unity encourages the audience to see them in a far less favorable light than the King and the Prince. They seem to acting in their own selfish interests rather than the interests of the whole country.