Read King Henry IV, Part 1 by William Shakespeare Online


David Scott Kastan lucidly explores the remarkable richness and the ambitious design of King Henry IV Part 1 and shows how these complicate any easy sense of what kind of play it is. Conventionally regarded as a history play, much of it is in fact conspicuously invented fiction, and Kastan argues that the non-historical, comic plot does not simply parody the historical aDavid Scott Kastan lucidly explores the remarkable richness and the ambitious design of King Henry IV Part 1 and shows how these complicate any easy sense of what kind of play it is. Conventionally regarded as a history play, much of it is in fact conspicuously invented fiction, and Kastan argues that the non-historical, comic plot does not simply parody the historical action but by its existence raises questions about the very nature of history. The full and engaging introduction devotes extensive discussion to the play's language, indicating how its insistent economic vocabulary provides texture for the social concerns of the play and focuses attention on the central relationship between value and political authority. Kastan also covers the recurrence of the word "honor" in the text and the role that women play.  Appendices provide the sources of 1 Henry IV, discussions of Shakespeare's metrics, and the history of the manuscript.  The appendix on casting features a doubling chart to show which characters may be played by one actor.  Photographic images of the original Q0 Fragment, which is assumed to have been printed in Peter Short's printing house in 1598, appear in the fifth appendix. Finally, a reference section provides a list of abbreviations and references, a catalog of Shakespeare’s works and works partly by Shakespeare, and citations for the modern productions mentioned in the text, other collated editions of Shakespeare's work, and other related reading. The Arden Shakespeare has developed a reputation as the pre-eminent critical edition of Shakespeare for its exceptional scholarship, reflected in the thoroughness of each volume. An introduction comprehensively contextualizes the play, chronicling the history and culture that surrounded and influenced Shakespeare at the time of its writing and performance, and closely surveying critical approaches to the work. Detailed appendices address problems like dating and casting, and analyze the differing Quarto and Folio sources. A full commentary by one or more of the play’s foremost contemporary scholars illuminates the text, glossing unfamiliar terms and drawing from an abundance of research and expertise to explain allusions and significant background information. Highly informative and accessible, Arden offers the fullest experience of Shakespeare available to a reader....

Title : King Henry IV, Part 1
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ISBN : 21948509
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 506 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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King Henry IV, Part 1 Reviews

  • BillKerwin
    2019-04-01 15:00

    I have read this play many times, and--although Shakespeare always shows me something new--this reading gave me little insight and few surprises. I was struck with two parallels, however--one within the play itself, and one within Shakespeare's body of work. First of all, I appreciated the subtle parallels between the Hotspur-Glendower and the Hal-Falstaff scenes. Each young man spends much of his time needling a self-important, older man who is such a windbag that the audience is almost automatically on the young man's side. Hotspur, whom we are inclined to respect because of his high spirits and his achievements as a warrior, is so easily irritated, and carries his own self-regard so close to the surface, that his needling of Glendower--although deserved--seem pointless, rash and injudicious. (It may, in fact, prove fatal, since Glendower fails to come to Hotspur's aid when most needed--a dereliction perhaps precipitated by the younger man's abrasive heckling.) Consequently, although we like Hotspur at the end of the scene as much as we liked him at the beginning, we respect him a good deal less. Contrast with this the Hal-Falstaff exchanges. Hal, already characterized as a wastrel, punctures Falstaff's pomposity with such a controlled attack of pointed wit that we begin to admire him for his discipline (at least in conversation), and sense that there may be more to him than appears on the surface. In addition, Falstaff--unlike the humorless Glendower--is a worthy opponent, filled with wit and self-awareness, and the fact that Hal can more than hold his own--and keep his temper too--suggests a self-awareness, a deliberately cultivated distance from his degraded surroundings, that prepares us for his eventual transformation just as much as his soliloquy about the sun.The other parallel--between plays--is closer, but certainly less important. Lady Percy, in her attempts to gain information about the coming rebellion, delivers a speech that is very much like Portia's speech to Brutus in similar circumstances. Their conduct afterwards, though, is different. Portia--the stoic Roman--cuts herself in the thigh to prove her ability to keep a secret, but Lady Percy--a hardy warrior's bride--tries to break her husband's little finger and force him to talk. (Like I said, this isn't that important, but it is interesting how a great dramatist can use similar materials in support of very different effects.)Speaking overall, I am once again astonished by the great command of voices that Shakespeare demonstrates in this play. Hotspur, Falstaff, Glendower, Hal and Mistress Quickly all use language in very distinctive ways, and even the casual conversation of the servants in the stable yard is vivid and characteristic. I am also impressed with the expert and seamless blending of poetry with prose, history with comedy, rhetoric with wit.By the time he wrote Henry IV, Shakespeare could not only do it all, but he knew exactly how--and when--to mix it up. This is indisputably the work of a master.

  • Bookdragon Sean
    2019-04-19 17:19

    How hard it must be to fight an enemy you admire; how hard it must be to realise your enemy is a stronger, and perhaps more worthy, man than your son, and how great it must be to realise that you are such a hypocritical fool, and that your son is more than you ever dreamed. But first, you must lament your heir to your advisors, clearly a great move:Yea, there thou mak’st me sad and mak’st me sin In envy that my Lord Northumberland Should be the father to so blest a son— A son who is the theme of honour’s tongue, Amongst a grove the very straightest plant, Who is sweet Fortune’s minion and her pride— Whilst I, by looking on the praise of him See riot and dishonor stain the brow Of my young Harry. O, that it could be proved That some night-tripping fairy had exchanged In cradle clothes our children where they lay, And called mine Percy, his Plantagenet!Henry Bolingbroke is a man with daemons. He won his crown on the back of a rebellion, and here he is many years later crushing a rebellion himself. There’s some irony in here. Shakespeare does love to point out a good hypocrite. In the rebellious Hotspur King Henry clearly sees part of himself, and in his son he sees a foe he vanquished many years before. The ineffectual Richard II has come to haunt he him; he doesn’t want to see England fall under such negligent rule ever again. So he is a man most divided. The choice he makes is the only one he could make. He puts his faith in his son and because of this the young Henry meets the challenge with vigour and character I’d argue he didn’t even know he possessed. The young Henry, Hal to his friends, doesn’t take life too seriously. He spends his days drinking, pranking and bantering with an old knight named Sir John Fallstaff, and this lead to some of the best moments of the play. The two in a metatheatrical moment, a mini play within a play, act out a scene of King and Prince. Fallstaff rather hilariously, whilst pretending to be Henry IV, gives young Hal some advice about his drunken friend: No, my good lord, banish Peto, banish Bardolph, banish Poins, but for sweet Jack Falstaff, kind Jack Falstaff, true Jack Falstaff, valiant Jack Falstaff, and therefore more valiant being, as he is, old Jack Falstaff, Banish not him thy Harry’s company, Banish not him thy Harry’s company. Banish plump Jack, and banish all the world.Thus history becomes part comedy, and Shakespeare as always demonstrates how versatile a dramatist he was. Language becomes a clear distinction between the high born characters and the low. This is no Richard II where commoners are spouting out verse. In here there is a clear distinction between who is educated and who isn’t. The commoners speak in prose. The lord’s in verse. Young Hal can do a little bit of both. He has the ability to bond with the lowborn and the high born because of this, which is just a slight foreshadowing of the loyalty he will command one day. A good King knows how to communicate with his subjects not just the other rulers of the land, just a bit of subtlety from the bard. Honour as well becomes a subject of much contention. What is honour? Is it personal integrity or is it loyalty to your King, and perhaps those you love. Indeed, honour becomes a subjective principle, one that means different things to each individual. For the King it is his need to protect his realm, for Hotspur it is personal integrity, and for Hal it is duty. Fallstaff’s honour, which is something easily debatable, is his love for his prince. His dialogue speaks otherwise, but his actions, though a little bit stupid, felt rather devoted at points even if they were also self-serving. As with all of Shakespeare’s plays, watching a good version really helps. I like to read the play once, go watch an adaption, and then read the play again. It just adds another level to it. I did quite like this play, but I much preferred Richard II. The language in that play was pure poetry, and I much prefer tragedy to comedy.

  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    2019-04-07 18:11

    King Henry IV, Part 1 (Wars of the Roses, #2), William ShakespeareHenry IV, Part 1 is a history play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written no later than 1597. It is the second play in Shakespeare's tetralogy dealing with the successive reigns of Richard II, Henry IV (two plays, including Henry IV, Part 2), and Henry V. Henry IV, Part 1 depicts a span of history that begins with Hotspur's battle at Homildon in Northumberland against Douglas late in 1402 and ends with the defeat of the rebels at Shrewsbury in the middle of 1403. From the start it has been an extremely popular play both with the public and critics.تاریخ نخستین خوانش: دهم ماه ژانویه سال 1989 میلادیعنوان: نخستین بخش شاه هنری چهارم؛ عنوان قراردادی: هنری چهام - بخش نخست؛ نویسنده: ویلیام شکسپیر؛ مترجم: احمد خزاعی؛ تهران، اکباتان، 1367، در 242 ص، عکس، عنوان روی جلد: هنری چهارم؛ موضوع: هنری چهارم شاه انگلستان 1367 تا 1413 قرن 16 ما. شربیانی

  • Darwin8u
    2019-03-29 15:15

    “O, while you live, tell truth, and shame the Devil!” ― William Shakespeare, King Henry IV, Part 1Falstaff!Yes, I knew who he was. But until this year my exposure to Falstaff was mainly second-hand, through books that spoke of him. I hadn't touched any of Shakespeare's histories (I'm not counting Julius Caesar, etc., as a history) and so was surprised at just how much I liked this character. There are plays where the character and the play are equally matched (Othello, Hamlet, etc), but there are those plays where the character seems to float beyond the play. Henry IV, Part I seems like one of those. The play was great. I enjoyed it. But every time Falstaff arrived it seemed to jump up a level. It was certainly not a play where Falstaff played a central role. Obviously, Henry, Prince of Wales plays that part (and he is fascinating himself) but Falstaff just dervishes around the play making everything better. Breathing color and dynamics into every scene he is a part of. And he doesn't do it through and other-worldliness. He does it through his humanity, his base motives, and his complicated affections. There is no doubt that Henry loves Falstaff and that Falstaff loves Henry, but it is also clear that they are both using each other and KNOW the other is using them. It is perfect.And the lines! Some of Shakespeare's great lines and great musings jump energetically from Falstaff's lips: "Well, ’tis no matter; honour pricks me on. Yea, but how if honour prick me off when I come on? How then? Can honour set-to a leg? No. Or an arm? No. Or take away the grief of a wound? No. Honour hath no skill in surgery, then? No. What is honour? A word. What is in that word “honour”? What is that “honour”? Air. A trim reckoning! Who hath it? He that died o’ Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No. Doth he hear it? No. ’Tis insensible then? Yea, to the dead. But will it not live with the living? No. Why? Detraction will not suffer it. Therefore I’ll none of it. Honour is a mere scutcheon. And so ends my catechism."

  • Bradley
    2019-04-05 20:26

    Still one of my most favorite histories, or at least part one of perhaps three. ;) Our favorite wastrel, Prince Henry, Hal to his friends, a drunkard, a thief, the bosom buddy of dear fat old Falstaff, hides his bright sun behind vile clouds so as to shine all the brighter when his day finally arrives.In here, of course, we establish the lout with a sharp mind and careful cunning, dissembling for all to see but careful of the long game. When his his father sore needs his son's aid, Hal comes to the rescue, throwing off all such base clouds, or as little as need be, to ensure both his father and the close court of his worthiness, and he does so with flying colors, killing the most worthy night in England, the poor Percy of the Hot Blood, and so restoring both his honor and his valor in both word and deed.This, of course, is just the prelude. The foreshadowing. The stage upon such things as the Ides of March are set. Ever since I first read this, I've always called such low tides in men "The Hal Effect"."Let no one expect shit of thee, and when the time draws neigh, toot your horn and shock the living hell out of them.";)Seriously, Shakespeare? Who knew that when Will Shook his Spear, he'd ever have so much to say? ;)

  • Trish
    2019-04-18 17:00

    The second play about The Wars of the Roses and so massive in history, good ol' Will had to make two parts about this particular king!Henry IV was Henry Bolingbroke, the one who deposed the old king, Richard II. Since then, he has not had a quiet reign. There are still those who want Richard back (funny, considering how many supported Henry because they were unsatisfied with Richard's way of doing things). How did kings usually solve such a problem? Right, with a crusade, what else?! But he faces such problems with Wales and Scotland that he can't go on the merry road-and-killing-trip. There is lots of intrigue from influential families such as the Percys and Henry's own son is giving him a headache or two as well (since scandalous behaviour makes people question the worthiness to the throne). The most charismatic person here definitely is Falstaff - as fat and drunk and corrupt as the old bloke may have been. That charisma is not just thrown at the audience but also at Henry's son.But soon, there is an outlet for all the pressure boiling up because the intrigues against King Henry IV result in a battle at Shrewsbury.Opposite the king's forces is one of the Percys, called "Hotspur" of all things (one has to love the nicknames of the time). Funnily enough (literally because they are comic relief in my opinion), completing the trio is King Henry's son and his friends (yes, including the fat and drunk Falstaff who is no longer charismatic in my opinion, but acts most shamefully).I must say, I didn't like Hal (Henry's son) very much. He was vile, thought himself oh-so-much-better, and made fun of his companions (especially Falstaff) in the worst ways. However, he himself informs the audience that this time will be over soon and that he will proof himself worthy. Had I not known what king he was to become, I would have considered this announcement the greatest joke in the play.Nevertheless, the aforementioned battle at Shrewsbury gives Hal his chance (after he somehow gets his father to give him command) and he does proof himself worthy indeed. There is the inevitable climax in form of single combat between Hal and Hotspur and it was thrilling.In the end, even the dishonourable Falstaff wants to make amends for his behaviour and vows to change his ways.Thus, it can be said that apart from the overall theme of the Wars of the Roses, this play is also about sinful youths growing up to become men of honour. It definitely is the groundwork not only for part 2 but also for the next play about Henry V.I liked this play much better than the one about Richard II. Maybe I, too, fell for the comic relief and was blinded by fools becoming heroes. ;)

  • Neil Walker
    2019-04-17 22:27

    It may not be immediately obvious to people, when reading something like Drug Gang, but William Shakespeare has been a major and important influence on my writing. As an author, I have taken on board a lot of lessons from Shakespeare in terms of structure, story and character arcs.Henry IV, Part 1 has always been my favourite work of Shakespeare. Primarily, this is because of the gradual transformation that Prince Hal goes through. Also, Falstaff is an amazing character, providing plenty of comic relief. The play manages to perfectly combine comedic elements, drama and an amazing story of a personal journey from wild and chaotic tearaway to triumphant hero.

  • David Sarkies
    2019-04-16 23:29

    A prince gone wild22 February 2013 Thank God for Youtube. As I have said before reading a Shakespearian play that I have not seen on either stage or screen can be a difficult task at best. In fact reading any play that I have not seen on stage or screen can be difficult, since they are generally not meant to be read but performed. The printed plays seem to supplement the performances rather than to take their place, so when I came to read this play I searched Youtube and discovered that the BBC versions of the history plays are available for viewing, so once I finished this play I ended up watching it and I must say that it really added to my appreciation of the play. Henry IV Part One comes immediately after Richard II and begins after a slip of the tongue in anger in which Henry Bollingbrook (now Henry IV) causes the death of the previous monarch Richard II. Remember, during this period of English history England was in the middle of the Hundred Years War with France, and historians consider Henry (and Richard) to be weak kings during their reigns the war in France was not persued. However, England controlled a lot of French land at this time and keeping the peace in this land was difficult at best. At the beginning of the play Henry calls off an pilgrimage to the Holy Land (a crusade) to deal with some rebellions in Scotland and Wales (and I suspect that he never got to go on that pilgrimage). The problem wasn't that Henry had usurped the throne (though his own inner guilt did have something to say in regards to this) but that he had to deal with rebellions in Scotland and Wales. His first decision ends up alienating his former friends because he decides not to seek the release of another Englishman namely because he had formed a marriage pact with Owen Gwendoler (more on him in a bit). As such these former friends end up rebelling against his rule and going over to his enemies. There are also family problems as well because his son, Henry (who is to become Henry V) has fallen in with the tavern crowd (the Boars Head Tavern at Eastcheap which, unfortunately, is no longer there, though I do plan on going to Eastcheap when I am in London). I am not sure where Henry's castle is supposed to be, but if we know London, we know that Eastcheap is quite close to the Tower of London (in those days it wasn't a prison). The tavern crowd is run by the infamous Falstaff, one of the characters that seems to have obtained a legendary status in English Literature. While the plays in which he appears are not remembered, the character is. Falstaff is the fat, loud, cowardly, oaf that forms the comic relief of many a book and film (as well as this play) however he has a very important role here. While Owen Glendower has taken Henry's lords from him, Falstaff has taken is son, therefore Henry faces problems both in his position as a king and a rule as a father. The robbery scene is very important as, while it seems to be only a minor part at the beginning, it has a very significant impact. Robbery, particularly armed robbery, is a very serious offence, and while today you may only land up in gaol (though I would not call that a particularly light sentence, especially since it can stain your character for life) in those days you would be executed. Basically the only reason Henry gets away with it is because he is the Prince of Wales. Even then there is a very serious father and son talk when he admits to his participation in the robbery (and it also appears that he does not implicate Falstaff, who would have been executed for the deed). Act II, Scene IV is probably the longest, and the best, scene in the play in that it is the turning point for Hal's (the Prince) life. It begins with riotous merry making with Falstaff as the central figure, and ends with the sheriff coming in asking questions about the robbery. While Hal manages to keep the Sheriff off of Falstaff's back (and while the pickpocketing incident leads to a rather interesting result, with Falstaff claiming that bonds were stolen, only to realise that everybody knows they were simply records of what he owes) Hal ends up confessing to his father, and his father's act of mercy has Hal turn around and become the Prince of Wales. In the end he is on the battlefield, rebuking Falstaff for his tomfoolery, and becoming the hero by slaying Hotspur in single combat. Owen Glendower was a Welsh rebel who was at war with the English during this period. I actually saw a documentary on Glendower and their suggestion was that it was during this time that Wales was transformed from being a wild and savage place to becoming that quaint place that we all associate with Wales today. It is similar to Scotland, with the place going from the wild and savage land of Macbeth and the Highlander, to the bagpipe playing centre of learning that produced the likes of Adam Smith. In the same way that Richard III is demonised by Shakespeare, Glendower is also receives the same treatment. He his made to appear as a sorcerer in league with demonic forces, and that his victories against the English are not due to his skill as an insurgent but due to his dabbling in the occult. He only appears in a couple of scenes in the play, yet he the focus the part of the play that is not dominated by Falstaff. Where Falstaff has stolen the King's son, Gwendower has stolen the King's knights. However, in the same way that Henry brings order back to his family, he brings order back into the kingdom during the Battle of Shrewsberry, after which the play suddenly ends (obviously in anticipation for part 2).

  • Becky
    2019-03-26 20:03

    An absolutely brilliant and breathtaking work that is the perfect marriage of poetry, history, and wisdom. Falstaff may be one of the greatest creations of all literature, he is an astounding mix of hilarious wit, well-timed self-deprecation (or should we instead say, full of valour in discretion?), fervent loyalty (I feel the love-me-love-me-love-me need of a Golden Retriever here), and to top that off he stands as the ironic paradigm for honor and knighthood. From what we really know about knights and nobles around this time, Falstaff was probably the perfect mirror image, whereas Hal’s newly found chivalry is instead the curvy circus mirror.You cannot help but love the tavern scenes, where Hal lets forth one of the more poignant soliloquies about the sun and informs us that this is all part of his plan- a plan that will briefly allow him to breathe free away from court where he will be immured for the rest of his life, and will also let him come to know the true stock of his kingdom. Also, it doesn’t hurt that after being seen to be such as ass, he can only be seen as improving. Only one place to go and that’s up! There also seems to be a sort of parallel story between the in-fighting amongst the tavern slugs and what are basically “elevated” kingdom-wide tavern brawls of would-be kings and attempted usurpers. Oh sure, they’re the nobility, so instead of a tavern brawl it’s an attempt at the throne, but it really boils down to the same thing doesn’t it? Even the basest man clings to some sort of honor, and what does Falstaff say honor is? Nothing but air. You know why I really like Hal? He is much like Hector of Troy, he is confined by his duty to his family and country, he craves freedom but does what he must, and Hotspur is much like Achilles…and really, Achilles is the arrogant ass that always deserved to die. So it’s somewhat cathartic to the viewer to watch the brash and noble, but insufferable hot-tempered Hotspur to die and realize that all he accomplished will be to Hal’s glory, and he will be forgotten.I should note that I read along after I watched the Hollow Crown series. Marvellous acting, truly wonderful... following along was not entirely conducive however because they jump around significantly and leave large portions out (luckily none of the omitted portions were Jeremy Iron's (King Henry) talking to Hal upon his return to Court, because those are some of my favorites)

  • Cindy Rollins
    2019-04-25 18:19

    Having just watched The Hollow Crown, this play was much easier to listen to. The audio alone can be quite confusing, but a familiarity with the play helps. I love this whole cycle of plays. Shakespeare's ability to mix pathos and humor hits its stride in this cycle of plays. The Arkangel recording is excellent, as expected.

  • Marquise
    2019-04-04 22:30

    This must be one of Shakespeare's best historical dramas, although there's a lot that's invented for dramatic effect; the Bard can never be taken as very historically correct, for he's first and foremost a playwright. The fairly simple plotline following the major points of the reign of the first Lancastrian king is enlivened by the inclusion of what should be Will's most comical character, Sir John Falstaff, bon vivant par excellence, who often steals stage from Prince Hal with his antics, rogue witticisms, and rascally way of life. I also liked the "Harry to Harry" point-and-counterpoint type of parallel narration for Henry Percy ("Hotspur") and Henry of Monmouth ("Hal"), which allowed Shakespeare to offer a comparative storyline for two young men with so much talent for warfare and leading men who, nonetheless, are underestimated and often chided by their fathers, the Earl of Northumberland and Henry IV respectively, and other elders of varied competence and vanity for two large flaws that colour the public perception of them: Hotspur has the shortest ever fuse in England, and his hot-headedness lands him in serious trouble as well as makes him vulnerable to manipulation by cunning older relatives, which culminates in a disastrous rebellion; and Hal is a hopeless carouser, whoremonger and reveller that's adding more gray hairs to his father's head with his licentious lifestyle and the bad company he keeps. One of these young men will realise in time he needs to change course if he wants to walk far in life, but the other's path will end at a battlefield by Shrewsbury as a consequence. This would be the tragedy portion of the play, but even so it doesn't lack humour, with Falstaff's "cowardly lion" battle exploits that are worth a smile or two. I would have objected to calling this Henry IV, though! The king barely appears in order to bemoan his inutile of a prince heir or bemoan that the Percys & Co. just Do Not Understand How Cool a King He Is and how merciful, etc. I'd suspect Shakespeare doesn't like Bolingbroke a great deal, because even in Richard II, where he ironically had a larger role than in this play named after him, he seemed to me slightly more sympathetic to the deposed king than to the then Duke of Lancaster. Likewise, in this play, he's more enamoured of Prince Harry (what's it with scandalous English princes called Harry?), and so this first play of two could with justice be called instead The Very Merry Youth of King Hal the Fifth.. . . Hey, that sounds much cooler!

  • Dave Cullen
    2019-04-07 22:22

    I love this play, and this edition. It's captivating and insightful, and I'm reading right after finishing "The Plantagenets," which I also recommend, and which teed it up nicely. (That book ends with Henry IV deposing Richard II, leading directly to the situation this play depicts.) One problem with reading the history of the English kings is their stories tend to blur together after while. I've always been able to keep Henry II straight, because I watched "The Lion in Winter" 20 years ago, and still picture Peter O'Toole as Henry, Katherine Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitaine, etc. I think I have this set of Henry's etched in my brain for another 20, too.I tried two other editions of Henry IV, before settling on this one (Arden):- The Applause edition: I loved the thorough explanations and insights into how actors have played scenes over time FOR OTHER PLAYS (several of the well-known tragedies), so I was expecting the same. Nope. Nothing but lots of footnotes indicating technical decisions on which folio/quarto was used on a particular line.- Oxford School Series. The explanatory notes were very helpful, and I would have been very happy with this edition. But I compared this with Arden (reviewed here) line by and Arden had far more historical information and insightful notes on the wordplay (eg, biblical sources he was playing off). Also, the Oxford actually overdid it explaining some phrases I found obvious. I went to B&N and worked through more than a dozen versions of this play, and found this most superior, by far. (Also, get historical info on all the major characters.) This appears to be the best out there. It costs a bit more: about $8 more than the others, but I'll be spending 40-60 hours with it, so that's less than 20 cents per hour of my time for something much more effective. A bargain.(If money is really tight, I highly recommend the "Oxford School Series," (and note that's different than just "Oxford," which is also out there. UPDATE: I started act 5 today, and still loving it. Racing through it, on my scale. I could do without Falstaff, but loving Hal and Hotspur and the other rebels and even the king sometimes.UPDATE 2:Wrapped up in a frenzy. Sooooo good.

  • Manab
    2019-04-16 16:16

    বাঁধাই করানো পেপারব্যাক, প্রায় ষাইট বছর বয়স, ভূমিকাটা ভালো, গত চারশো বছরের মঞ্চায়নের ইতিহাস ভেতরে দেয়া থাকলে আরো ভালো লাগতো।নাটকটা ভালোই বলতে হবে।ফলস্টাফরে অতিমূল্যায়ন করা হইছে, এমনটা বলা সম্ভব, খুবই সম্ভব, কিন্তু কিছু মূল্য তারে না দিয়ে যাওয়া যায় না। মূল্য দিতে হয় গ্লেন্ডাওয়াররেও, মাত্র এক দৃশ্যে ঘুরে গিয়ে সে যা দেখায়। এই নাটকটা শেক্সপীয়রের ট্রাজেডিগুলার চেয়ে অনেক কম ন্যায়প্রবণ বলেই মনে হইলো, চরিত্রগুলির পতনের পেছনে কোনো নৈতিক কারণ দেখা গেলো না, হটস্পুরের মৃত্যু হইতেই হইত এমনটা না, তার জায়গায় হ্যাল মরলে নাটকের সিকুয়েলটা বদলে যাইতো শুধু।এইখানকার ট্রাজেডি বরং ফলুদার পতন, যেই পতনের জন্য ভুগতে হয় না, শুধু ফলুদাকে পাঠকের গালি খাইতে হয়। নিখাদ এক চরিত্রের কপালে এর চেয়ে বড় ট্রাজেডি আর কীই বা হইতে পারে! বেশ সড়্গড় বুলি, আকর্ষণীয় সব চরিত্র, শুধু হ্যাল-ফলুদার সঙ্গীসাথীরা বাদে, তারা সত্যি সত্যি একে অপরেরে দিয়ে প্রতিস্থাপনযোগ্য। এছাড়া বাকীরা বেশ জমায়ে তোলে নাটকটা, রসবোধ খুবই অসাধারণ, এবং জ্ঞান দেয়ার প্রবণতা একেবারেই নাই (মানে একেবারেই জনসনের কমেডি-গুলির মত না আর কী)। শেষে গিয়ে নাটক ঝুলে থাকে, দ্বিতীয় খন্ড আছে বলেই হয়ত, সেটাও হয়ত পড়ে ফেলবো একদিন। অন্য একজন রিভিউয়ার সমান্তরাল ঘটনার কথা বলেছেন, সেটাও সত্যি, চতুর্থ হেনরী আর ফলুদা, ফলুদা আর গ্লেনুদা, হ্যাল আর হটস্পুর, ইতিহাসের বাইরে গিয়ে জোড়ায় জোড়ায় এরকম বৈপরীত্য তৈরী করে শেক্সপীয়র নাটকটারে আরো অনেক বেশি গভীর করে এনেছেন। বাস্তবতার পিছু পিছু গিয়ে হটু মিয়ারে হ্যালের বিশ বছর বড় রাখলে এ নাটক কিছুতেই জমানো যেতো না।ইদানীংকালে কি এ কাজ করতে দেবে কেউ? নাট্যকারের আশেপাশের সবাই ত জানতো চতুর্থ হেনরীর কথা, তবুও যে তিনি এইভাবে ইতিহাস ভেঙে কাহিনী ফাঁদলেন, আমি যদি এরশাদকে গল্পের প্রয়োজনে তাজউদ্দীনের পথভ্রষ্ট পোষ্যপুত্র করে দেই, মানবে নাকী কেউ?কমেডি ফুরায়ে গেছে, ট্রাজেডি ধুকে ধুকে বেঁচে আছে শুধু সমালোচকের ব্যাখ্যায়, চারদিকে এখন কেবল লোকরঞ্জনের নামে গত বাঁধাবাঁধি। ফলস্টাফ নাই আর কোনোখানে।

  • Xueting
    2019-04-14 17:00

    Prince Hal keeps surprising me. Now I'm ready to watch Tom Hiddleston amaze me in the role!!

  • Jim
    2019-03-30 15:12

    Of course, five stars! It's William Shakespeare, after all. I love re-reading the plays just to enjoy the richness of the Bard's language. Although a history play, King Henry IV, Part 1 is as much a character study of Prince Hal and Falstaff. The eponymous king is more in the background, fighting a rebellion by Hotspur, Douglas, Owen Glendower, and Worcester -- to name just a few. He knows his hold on the crown is tenuous: When he killed Richard II, he made a lot of promises which he had been slow o fulfil.I would give the play five stars for no other reason than Falstaff's speeches, which are hilarious, including "discretion is the better part of valour." When the fat knight sees the body of Blunt, killed by Douglas, he decides that honor is not for him.We see in this play the beginnings of what will become the warrior king Henry V, somewhat rueful that he has been so associated with Falstaff and his crew of lowlifes.

  • Liam
    2019-04-18 16:17

    This was pretty good!!The story was well developed and I felt like the characters all had a level of depth to them that you quite often don't see in Shakespeare so that was really nice to see!The fact I enjoy the history behind the story makes it even more enjoyable!

  • Jorun Bork
    2019-04-02 18:11

    I recommend reading this after Richard II. The play offers a continuation of the plot and good historical insights regarding the Wars of Roses.

  • Trevor
    2019-04-08 15:21

    I reviewed Richard II in January and decided at the time I would review all of the four plays in the series. A mere six months later I’m up to the second play – how hopeless is that? I intend to get through the next couple in what will seem (in comparison at any rate) to be me zipping along at a rate of knots.I had to read this in high school – so thought I would be more familiar with it than it turns out that I am. There were things I remember very well – Falstaff’s ‘honour’ speech and Hal’s soliloquy at the start where he compares himself to a piece of shining metal on the dull ground. But most of the play had faded to background noise and nothingness.People often say that the great thing about Shakespeare is that none of his bad guys are ever just bad guys. They tend to be ‘rounded’ characters that we even feel a bit of sympathy for – well, except Iago, of course. What is particularly interesting in this play is how few of the characters are in the least bit likeable. Falstaff is sometimes funny, but generally not even that – a coward and a liar, a drunkard and a glutton, I felt I was meant to laugh at him, rather than with him, but could hardly manage that. His ultra ego – Sir Toby Belch from Twelfth Night – is much more likeable and much more funny, I think. The King is at best annoying, his son Hal is a pain in the bum, and Hotspur comes across as the kind of person who spent too long as a child pulling the wings of flies. To be honest, there isn’t a single character you would like to have over for dinner. The scene where son saves father’s life and father is surprised is the kind of scene where you just want to bang heads together.If Richard II is about the divine right of kings coming to an end – this play is about the guilt that comes from bringing about that end. Henry IV is only an incidental character in this play, really, despite it being named after him. At the start he wants to go off to the Holy Land and kill some Arabs (it is remarkable how long this has been seen as a bit of a panacea in the West – done something wrong? Feel a bit bad about it? Having trouble at home? Why not head off to the Holy Land and kill some Muslim Infidels! All will be forgiven.), but there is trouble at home in Scotland and Wales that puts off his plans. He is also mistreating (from a sense of guilt) those who helped to bring him to power. This would be okay if he was doing so in a Machiavellian way (they made me do it and now I’m punishing them) – but he is doing it unthinkingly. Not a great idea alienating your supporters without a really good reason.The problem is that the young Hotspur is not only making himself look good in various military campaigns, but in so doing is making Hal, the King’s son, look decidedly worse. Hal has taken to drinking in bars and chasing after loose women with a fat old guy called Falstaff. Hal has decided to do this because when he finally does come good the brightness of his good deed will shine so much brighter against the black background of his previous bad deeds. This is almost a return to the divine right in the previous play – God will provide an occasion when he will be able to shine – but this hardly seems a reasonable thing for him to actively hope for, in fact, rely upon. There is an arrogance to this sort of idea – the kind of stupidity young men are all too prone to – that rings very true, but is also incredibly irritating at the same time. The play is really about us moving towards Young Hal and Young Hotspur doing a ‘this kingdom isn’t big enough for the two of us’ scene towards the end. And so it proves. They almost use that very line.I really wanted to like Hal more – but that was quite out of the question. I probably would have liked to have liked Hotspur more too, but how he treats his wife is anything but loveable and sealed his fate for me. As I said, Falstaff has some wonderful anti-war lines, but then he does take money from people so they can avoid fighting in the war and keeps the wages of others that he then ensures will die - ‘food for powder’ he calls them, or cannon fodder as we might. Like I said, it is hard to chuckle away with him in quite the way we can over Sir Toby’s torturing of Malvolio, at least up until the very end of Twelfth Night when even those chuckles become a little uncomfortable. If Richard II is a tragedy dressed as a history, there is part of me that would like to say this is a comedy dressed as a history – that isn’t quite true, but it is close enough for me to nearly be able to get away with it.Bring on Henry IV part II, I say.

  • Ken Moten
    2019-04-21 23:11

    "Two stars keep not their motion in one sphere." Act V scene 4. This is a story of 2 (3(4)) people. I really am out of my element analyzing this because it is a complete play about half of a story. Can't really say if Henry IV, Part 2 is a sequel though I suspect it is not. I will give my best summary of events so far. This play again is a story of relationships in an ever shrinking geometric shape. We begin with the title character (one would do good to remember Richard II and Henry IV last encounter with him from that play, it informs Henry's thoughts here) and we quickly meet three other characters that make our relationship almost-rectangle that starts this play off. We have King Henry and Percy at one end and Prince Hal and Sir John Falstaff at the other. We see that Prince Hal has strained relations with his dad so he has made Falstaff his surrogate role-model/male that he looks up to (I never get the sense that they have a father son relationship. On the other hand King Henry has adopt [Henry] Percy as a surrogate son because he shows all the qualities that he wishes Hal, the future Henry V, had. This quickly breaks apart as Percy goes against the King over an unimportant matter and joins a rebellion (a very important matter) it is only now with this love relationship triangle that the real drama of this story is exposed. This and the next play are a story of men making choices that effect them. I have a hard time deciding if it is a story of three men or two so I will decide that after I go through part 2 but for now I will layout perspectives and in particular I will focus on Hal for now. He is a young man with two paths/people before him. If he chooses one he will have to reject the other for good. You have his dower, guilt-ridden, serious, cold, father on one end and jolly, fun-loving, warm, hardly-serious, fat...I will let him finish,"...sweet Jack Falstaff, kind Jack Falstaff, true Jack Falstaff, valiant Jack Falstaff, and therefore more valiant, being, as he is, old Jack Falstaff...". We are foreshadowed at Act II scene 4 at what choice Hal makes and I don't think it is much of a spoiler since again there is a play called Henry V. Falstaff was a very interesting character that I almost liked I'm still on the fence at how I feel towards him. He can carry a scene like no other in this play but his character (personality-wise) does not make him desirable to emulate. He was on thin ice with Hal and it seemed Hal did what he could to warn him and try to encourage him to take him more seriously but Falstaff's shameful, cowardly behavior at the climatic battle seals his fate in Hal's eyes and it is only a matter of time before he is cast out of Hal's circle permanently. We do get, surprisingly, Falstaff doing a very deep soliloquy on the nature of honor in the face of war and possible death [and why he refuses to risk his life]: "Honour pricks me on. Yea, but how if Honour prick me off when I come on? how then? Can Honour set to a leg? No. Or an arm? No. Or take away the grief of a wound? No. Honour hath no skill in surgery then? No. What is Honour? a word. What is that word, Honour? Air. A trim reckoning! — Who hath it? He that died o' Wednesday. Doth he feel it? No. Doth he hear it? No. Is it sensible then? Yes, to the dead. But will it not live with the living? No. Why? Detraction will not suffer it: therefore I'll none of it. Honour is a mere 'scutcheon, and so ends my catechism." I do wonder how this man became a knight in the first place. In the end Hal's bravery in the battle, not to mention his triumph over Percy, restores him in his father's-and the country's-eyes. I would speculate on more but I will pick up when I review part 2. Falstaff: "Dost thou hear, Hal? thou know'st, in the state of innocency Adam fell; and what should poor Jack Falstaff do in the days of villainy? Thou see'st I have more flesh than another man; and therefore more frailty."

  • Alex
    2019-04-11 23:11

    Another great one! If I remember right, the second part of Henry IV is not as great...I'll have to kinda slog through it on my way to Henry V, which at this point is like having sex with your wife. Henry V, not slogging through 2 Henry IV, I mean. I've read Henry V like fifty times and seen the movie at least five - my mom really liked that thing. That and Amadeus. Remember back when VCRs were for watching old movies instead of new ones? ("No, because I'm not a million years old like you." "Get off my lawn.") Anyway, after thinking about it for six and a half sentences, the sex / Henry V comparison doesn't make any sense, so never mind.I found myself losing focus sometimes during 1 Henry IV, and I'm not sure whether it was the context - I had little free time this weekend and I found myself reading it in small bites, sometimes while the wife watched cooking reality shows. Not a great way to read Shakespeare - or maybe it was that it's been a while since I read a bunch of Shakespeare in quick succession, and my Shakespeare muscles have gone all flabby. We'll see.Where Richard II was very faithful to the actual history, Shakespeare departs more readily from the strict truth of things in the Henry IV plays. He throws a lot more stuff in from non-historical characters, Falstaff being the obvious one, possibly because he needs some padding to make this into two different plays; I'm not sure why he did two plays, but maybe I'll get it more after the second one. (I've read all this before, but it's been a while so I don't remember how 2 Henry IV ends.) The dramatic arc in this first part works perfectly, anyway; the climactic (and completely fabricated) duel between the young Henry V and Hotspur makes a great Act V.Interesting, by the way, that Henry V is at least co-lead with Henry IV in this first part, and he's clearly the main character in the second. Just sayin'. I wonder whether we'd see these plays differently if 2 Henry IV had been called 1 Henry V. I think Henry IV gets less attention than Henry V in part because it's two plays, which makes people more anxious about reading them. More commitment, y'know? But if you take 1 Henry IV on its own...well, it's not as good as Richard II, but it's very good.I'm rambling badly, aren't I? Truth is I have work to do and I don't want to do it. But okay, I should get to it. See you soon for 2 Henry IV.Saccio's book, by the way, is great. Fun to read, really informative. My pattern has been to read the chapter about the play, then the play, then my Riverside Shakespeare's intro to the play; it's working out nicely. There's a lot of flipping between books involved, though; I'm going to buy a physical copy of Saccio today so I can reference it better. Paging around on a Kindle totally sucks.

  • Alan
    2019-04-15 16:23

    Taught this play many times in the 60's and 70's, when it was often the one Shakespeare play in a college Intro to Lit class: great play, but heavily male. After my study with two prominent women Shakespeareans (separate post-docs at Harvard and Breadloaf) I moved, for the sake of my largely female community college students, to stronger women characters in the comedies and, say, Measure for Measure. But I still offhandedly quote from 1H4, say "If reasons were as plentiful as blackberries…"Falstaff to Hal who's caught him running away. I emphasized students aloudread for Tone of Voice, essential for lit, and especially for drama. This play teaches tone really well: Falstaff insults the Hostess, by calling her "You woman!" and she takes great offense, "I was never called so in my life" Why? Because of Falstaff's tone. (Forgive I quote from memory here, last taught it two decades ago.)Shakespeare shows his invention (what we now call creativity, a different concept) every time Falstaff speaks. For instance, Hal insults Fallstaff's overweight with common criticism more useful to oversized Americans now--"this bed-presser, this huge hill of flesh"--while Falstaff thinks up great anti-jogger insults, "you starveling, you eelskin, you dried neat's tongue, you bull's pizzle…you sheath, you bow case, you vile standing tuck….Oh, for breath to utter what is like thee! "(4.4.270ff). Next Falstaff play-acts "in King Cambyses vein" playing Hal's father the King, saying about the Hostess, "For tears do stop the floodgates of her eyes.." Then Falstaff satirizes the King's doubt about his paternity of Hal, and also Hal and his father's facial appearance, "That thou art my son, I have partly thy mother's word…but chiefly a foolish hanging of thy nether lip, that doth warrant me." All this is delicious, and with the robbery scene surrounds the very serious scene of Hotspur's reading the letter of and heading away without telling his wife where: "Thou will not utter what thou dost not know." By the way, would that candidate Trump ( rhymes with "rump"?) knew half so many military terms as Lady Percy--who overhears Hotspur in his sleep--"of trenches, tents..frontiers, parapets/ Of basilisks, of cannon, culverin/ Of prisoners ransom…all the currents of a heady fight…" At any rate, I have barely scratched the surface of a grand historo-comedy, to vary Polonius's list of dramatic genres.

  • Liv (Stories For Coffee)
    2019-04-04 23:06


  • Hayden
    2019-04-04 19:07

    Again....I prefer seeing the history plays performed over reading them.

  • Rhonda
    2019-04-22 18:19

    I had a wonderful professor as an undergraduate who transferred his lifelong love of Shakespeare to me, no small task considering how wildly rebellious and impatient I was with things that were difficult. While the author's language has always been beyond reproach, I have only to look at my weathered volume of the Collected Works to see some of the comments I had made and realize that I had allowed something notable, from time to time, to slip past me. This time, I downloaded a new copy and began fresh. It was, indeed, a great deal of work and I stopped at each questionable word and determined what it might have meant in Shakespeare's time. More often than not, I would find myself surprised that I had really read this at all, so clearly had I missed various nuances...and these nuances piled up rather quickly.I discovered that the serious parts (and by this I mean decidedly non-comic) were far easier to read. Even then, Shakespeare was not above throwing in a quip or two which might have evoked laughter but it is fairly easy to trace.I look down at my notebook now and find pages of words or phrases which delighted me. I find myself cringing at the thought of having "read" this in order to be prepared for a class which would take place at 2 PM. After all, I knew what happened and which characters were doing/saying what, so what did it really matter? Some years later, I discovered it meant a lot.While Part I of Henry IV is far easier in this regard than part 2, I spent hours poring over the comic scenes in search of new meaning. It was well rewarded as sometimes I would simply feel as though I were in the theater seeing the actors on stage and laughing from the fifth row. Other times, there were obscure jokes or perhaps those which might have elicited groans and guffaws, puns so common that one could have understood them without much learning at all. Clearly Shakespeare took greater care in Part 2 to create a few more comic scenes for the audience and I could not help but think that he both wanted to make the play more popular and more accessible. Still the language is universal beyond measure.I remember years ago, when, as a graduate student, I taught primarily Spanish speaking kids in a private school English and History. I managed, with some help, to convince the principal to allow my 8th graders to see a Shakespeare play. I was anxious to see whether my thesis concerning language would hold up. It was so,in fact, wildly successful that we repeated the outing on a second occasion for a second play.I remember watching the students' faces, nervous and intimidated at first, but in awe of such an excursion into adulthood. The nervousness disappeared and even the few with a lower grasp of English, were delightedly fixated at the stage, the actors, but especially the language. I am not sure how it was possible, but I actually heard them quoting lines to each other on the bus ride back to school.I recognize that I am neglecting the review of the plot and story here, but I shall leave that to better reviewers. For my part, reading this anew was akin to discovering the beauty in a work of art, sitting on a bench in the Prado and marveling at Goya for an entire afternoon. It has, indeed, been a matter of later rather than sooner that I have come to see the colors and texture and depth of field in this play. In many ways, I liken it to understanding history, the distillate of men and women that is made once the schema of dates and facts are absorbed. It is no small thing that I have finally seen the great art in it... and remain visibly shaken by its presence and lasting impression. At length, I experienced the author's giving of himself, not so that his name might be exalted, not so the story might be remembered, but that the colors and sounds might exist at all, without names and without analysis and without the overwhelming logic we impart so cruelly to most of our lives. Art is the victory of love over judgment. To understand such, leave your ego at the door.

  • Marija
    2019-04-15 20:04

    Who knew that Shakespeare was the man who penned the first episode of Doctor Who with his creation of the character Falstaff! Falstaff is a man who can travel all of time and space, visiting anything that ever happened or ever will. Where can we start? Falstaff makes his first appearance in this play, which takes place around 1402-03, landing in the midst of the historical battles of Humbleton Hill and Shrewsbury. He supposedly stays around, making a further appearance in this play’s sequel, Henry IV, Part II, before once again setting off to meet new adventures. Falstaff makes his final landing in The Merry Wives of Windsor, a play that takes place some 200 years after Henry IV’s reign, circa 1600, looking not a day older than his fifty or so years, acting as sprightly as ever and up to all kinds of mischief and mayhem. It’s wonderful! I just think this is so cool. ;)Falstaff brings light and levity to a dark subject, a king, Henry IV facing dissent among the ranks—specifically from old friends who had once helped him ascend to the throne. Adding more heartache to the king’s plate is his son, Hal, who keeps company with rogues, the head of the gang: Sir John Falstaff. This section of the play could easily pass for a story in a modern young adult novel: a son’s attempts to rebel from his parentage and destiny. Hal is the rebel prince of Wales, who along with his gang associate with mere commoners, taverns and ladies of the night… his current chief pleasure: arranging his dissolute friends as highwaymen, to rob poor weary travelers of their earnings. Though I should also say another chief pleasure of Hal’s is making Falstaff the butt of his jokes. But Falstaff is not so easily daunted and easily parries Hal’s cutting remarks, always getting the final shot. These verbal duels are priceless. Falstaff’s secret to a successful conclusion: “The better part of valor is discretion, in the which better part I have saved my life.” The baddies—the rebel faction—aren’t exactly portrayed as true villains here. They have an equal amount of presence on stage as our heroes, but like them, the baddies do have moments of comedy interlaced with their plans of sedition. There’s good feeling on both sides, neither of which really want war, but current circumstances preclude any other solution; there’s no turning back. The ending is surely bittersweet, but with the presence of Falstaff, it doesn’t end with sad remembrances of things past. There’s a sense of goodwill and a hopeful future, definitely a good story on which to end the year and begin the new.

  • Perry Whitford
    2019-04-09 21:11

    Henry Bolingbroke became Henry VI by stealing the crown with force when Richard's attentions were elsewhere in Ireland, but as Shakespeare opens up his two-part history, Henry wants to forswear conflict in England:'No more the thirsty entrance of this soilShall daub her lips from her own children's blood;No more shall trenching war channel her fields,Nor bruise her flowrets with the armed hoofsOf hostile paces.'Oh, if only it were that easy! Immediately Henry finds himself a monarch at war as a result of his own insults, as the fiery Earl of Northumberland takes issue with him for failing to ransom his sister's husband after a skirmish in Scotland. Henry Percy has distinguished himself in arms, but now he will raise them against the king, prompted by many of those same nobles who supported him against Richard.He is the perfect catalyst for the aggrieved lords; even his own uncle and ally the Earl of Worcester describes him as a witless touch-paper: 'A hare-brain'd Hotspur, govern'd by a spleen.'But enough about all these weighty shenanigans at the court: what about Falstaff at the Boar's Head Tavern? For this is the fat Falstaff's play really, all else is merely highflown folly.Drunkard, coward, thief, lier, 'huge hill of flesh', Falstaff puts everyone else in the shade(sic) whenever he is on stage, a hapless, oversized rogue and the subject of some fine insults from his friend, the young Prince Harry, my favorite of which is:'Fat Falstaff sweats to death,and lards the lean earth as he walks along' His shameless antics are the highlight of a hugely entertaining play, though they have little to do with the action by and large, a little like Bill Murray's scenes in Ghostbusters II. With war proclaimed, Falstaff does eventually help out, enlisting an army of prisoners and pensioners without uniforms to save money ('they'll find linen enough on every hedge'), which he pockets himself, then defends his crew when Prince Henry calls them 'pitiful rascals':'Tut, tut; good enough to toss; food for powder, food for powder; they'll fill a pit as well as better. Tush, man, mortal men, mortal men.'He may be a gross jester, but in time of war he has a point.

  • Melora
    2019-04-14 19:16

    Four and a half stars, if only I could. The beginning dragged for me, Act 1 and the first part of Act 2, particularly. I can't stand Falstaff Or the way the Prince treats Falstaff. And I find his self justification, the business about how he'll shine brighter because he's been rolling about in the mud (something like that) utterly pathetic. BUT, then things pick up! Hotspur is a hoot, especially his tirade about what a bore Glendower is (Act 3, Scene 1), and Prince Hal improves greatly once he decides to earn his father's approval. Acts 4 and 5 are definitely five star stuff. Hmmm. I'd give it five, only I liked Richard II so much Better._______________________I like this even better with a second reading. Falstaff's grown on me, actually they all have. And having read Marjorie Garber's essay, from Shakespeare After All, I better appreciated the parallels and contrasts with Richard II, as well as those within the play. I now think this is as good as Richard II, though obviously very different. Rounding my four and a half stars up this time to five. I read this along with the marvelous Arkangel recording, which would have been even better without the glitch in my download that meant I had to read without the actors' accompaniment from Act 2, Scene 4 to Act 3, Scene 3. I hope Audible will be able to set this right so that I can listen to Prince Hal and Falstaff acting the meeting between between the prince and his father, the actual scene between King Henry and his son, etc. I did feel sort of cheated as the recording failed me during some especially great scenes, but what was there was truly excellent.

  • Nurul
    2019-04-25 23:20

    Just as I did with Richard II, I read this while watching The Hollow Crown: King Henry IV, Part 1 (2012), starring Jeremy Irons, Tom Hiddleston and Simon Russell Beale (who shone the brightest as Falstaff imo). They were both tremendous -- I very much enjoyed both reading the play AND watching the film. My favourite passage has to be this one in particular:(view spoiler)['Tis not due yet; I would be loath to pay him beforehis day. What need I be so forward with him thatcalls not on me? Well, 'tis no matter; honour pricksme on. Yea, but how if honour prick me off when Icome on? how then? Can honour set to a leg? no: oran arm? no: or take away the grief of a wound? no.Honour hath no skill in surgery, then? no. What ishonour? a word. What is in that word honour? whatis that honour? air. A trim reckoning! Who hath it?he that died o' Wednesday. Doth he feel it? no.Doth he hear it? no. 'Tis insensible, then. Yea,to the dead. But will it not live with the living?no. Why? detraction will not suffer it. ThereforeI'll none of it. Honour is a mere scutcheon: and soends my catechism.Falstaff is such an interesting character. He provides much of the play's humour with his lazy, boastful ways, which should really be off-putting in reality. And yet, his character brings such depth to the play (as exemplified by the quote above) that I can't help but applaud Shakespeare for creating him. So yes, I loved Falstaff -- not as a person, but as a character, if that makes any sense. And I loved this play.(hide spoiler)]Do watch The Hollow Crown! It's fantastic.

  • Caidyn (BW Book Reviews; he/him/his)
    2019-04-13 16:29

    I've always found it very odd that this play is about Henry IV. Because it's really not. When you read it (or watch it or listen to it), it doesn't read as Henry IV. It's basically the overly long prequel to Henry V. And Henry V is a huge person for medieval England. He had all of these battles and won them and was amazing. All the kings wanted to be him, or be like him. Probably not die like he did, but that's another story.So, Prince Hal, as he's called in this play, steals the show. This is the beginning of his transformation, going from a willful young prince to a man who will someday be king with all of those responsibilities. He has bad friends and doesn't want to listen to his father who knows best. Sounds like most other young people I know. That's how I would describe him. His most important friend, in my book, is Falstaff. That man is an absolute hoot and the guy who voiced him in the audiobook knew exactly how to show the comedy of him in a very natural way. Hands down, my favorite part is when Falstaff and Prince Hal take turns acting as Henry IV and Prince Hal to rehearse some meeting.

  • Allie
    2019-04-22 16:18

    "Ah, whoreson caterpillars, bacon-fed knaves!"I'm not really enjoying the history plays, but this line was enough for me to like this one.