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This volume brings parts one and two of 'Henry IV' together, along with literary and historical contextual materials that illuminate the primary texts. This volume brings parts one and two of 'Henry IV' together, along with literary and historical contextual materials that illuminate the primary texts.


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This volume brings parts one and two of 'Henry IV' together, along with literary and historical contextual materials that illuminate the primary texts. This volume brings parts one and two of 'Henry IV' together, along with literary and historical contextual materials that illuminate the primary texts.

30 review for Henry IV Part 1 and Part 2

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dolors

    I marvel at how smoothly this play enhance the cyclical nature of history, how the succession of kings, of fathers and sons, mimics a pattern of fall and redemption that is repeated in Richard II, Henry IV, and Henry V, and accordingly, the evolution of styles echoes this pattern of unrestrained chaos, reestablished order and promised posterity. In Henry IV, part one, there is an unmistakable jesting tone in Mr. John Falstaff’s famous soliloquies, both sage and villain, which are characterized by I marvel at how smoothly this play enhance the cyclical nature of history, how the succession of kings, of fathers and sons, mimics a pattern of fall and redemption that is repeated in Richard II, Henry IV, and Henry V, and accordingly, the evolution of styles echoes this pattern of unrestrained chaos, reestablished order and promised posterity. In Henry IV, part one, there is an unmistakable jesting tone in Mr. John Falstaff’s famous soliloquies, both sage and villain, which are characterized by flexible verse and full sections of unadorned prose that recalls the uncorseted atmosphere of the taverns and brothels that young Prince Harry, heir of the throne of England, frequents with his gang of disreputable friends. Falstaff’s is the leading voice in this section, where the reader encounters an immature, irresponsible Prince, and ashamed King and a proud surrogate father who casts a questionable influence over an impressionable young man. Contrarily, in the second part of the play, poetry seems to be reserved for honest and sophisticated speech such as the final words of Henry IV before he dies or the discourses of the Chief of Justice when he publicly condemns the reprehensible behavior of Falstaff and his acolytes. In that sense, the play subtly criticizes the side effects of acquiring power. Once Prince Harry is crowned king, he has to sacrifice his personal life in favor of public image, with the added cost of severing relations with Falstaff, whose affection for the young ruler is sincere. The Bard prickles the reader with moral dilemmas that go beyond mere political machinations. Falstaff is a multifaceted character that earns the sympathy of the reader in spite of his evident flaws and vices. He is a rebel, a crook and a buffoon, but he’s also a surrogate father who remains loyal to his protégé with heart and mind. Prince Harry fulfills his role and becomes a responsible ruler, but in order to do so, he has to abandon his previous life and forsake those who showed fidelity to him. The forces of regeneration and betrayal become interfused in the erratic evolution of man and history. No achievement can be permanent; no emotion is infallible in the face of collective expectation and discordance between duty and justice, and most times appearances are misleading, so beware of Falstaff! “Hal’s displaced paternal love is Falstaff’s vulnerability, his one weakness, and the origin of his destruction. Time annihilates other Shakespearean protagonists, but not Falstaff, who dies for love.” The invention of the human, Harold Bloom

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Rollins

    I love this whole series of historical plays by William Shakespeare, especially through Henry V. I am still reading Henry IV, Part 2 but it is hard to find the right edition of a play on Goodreads.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jason Coleman

    Starring the original frat brother, Prince Hal—the slumming trust-fund kid soon to turn prodigal son—this play reads like some great lost Scorsese mob picture. Whether through insight or just proximate empathy, Shakespeare reveals the English nobility for the relentlessly combative, barely-beyond-the-Huns people they really were. For all the Bardolaters' fascination with Falstaff (who, according to Mark Van Doren, "understands everything and so is never serious"—now there's a profound statement) Starring the original frat brother, Prince Hal—the slumming trust-fund kid soon to turn prodigal son—this play reads like some great lost Scorsese mob picture. Whether through insight or just proximate empathy, Shakespeare reveals the English nobility for the relentlessly combative, barely-beyond-the-Huns people they really were. For all the Bardolaters' fascination with Falstaff (who, according to Mark Van Doren, "understands everything and so is never serious"—now there's a profound statement), it is Hotspur who, god help me, sticks in my mind. I cannot get enough of him. His confidence, his impatience, his bemusement at the hopeless fools surrounding him—he is insufferable, that goes without saying, but horribly vivid. Shakespeare caught this crazed alpha wolf in the details. He forgets, in his haste, to bring the map to his war meeting, gets intensely worked up berating himself for it, only to find he brought it after all. He interrupts everyone to bring up again and again his disgust with a sweet-smelling "popinjay" he encountered on the battlefield. And when Glendower, totally unprompted, boasts of heaven and earth shuddering when he was born, Hotspur doesn't let it slide; he takes the old man down. He cannot let anything go. His wife comes to him with her warm arms and he only wants to go to battle. It's true, he's a total dick. War is the perfect place for him, the only place for him. And after all the militaristic foreplay, Hal kills him pretty quickly.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Barry

    The witty repartee and Shakespearean insults between Prince Henry and Falstaff are amusing, but most of Part 1 is pretty boring. After that I just couldn’t work up enough enthusiasm for the sequel. Rounding up to 3 stars since it’s Shakespeare — my inability to fully appreciate it is surely my fault.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    A really enjoyable play. Part One was slightly better, having more action. Overall, very good.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mehmet Ali Yıldırım

    I am not sure if Hal is the origin of rogue like prince characters but it is clear that Shakespeare's prince harry certainly is a foundation to build on at this concept for numerous characters in several genres throughout time. I am not sure if Hal is the origin of rogue like prince characters but it is clear that Shakespeare's prince harry certainly is a foundation to build on at this concept for numerous characters in several genres throughout time.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Manuel Sanchez

    Longest work by the bard I have read (parts 1 & 2). Really enjoyed it though!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Henry IV Part I [1596-1597] ---------------------- 'How much thou art degenerate' (3.2.128). From 'most degenerate king' (Richard II, 2.1.264), to most degenerate prince. Shakespeare clearly has the tetralogy in mind as we traverse through the breaking and making of kings of the Wars of the Roses, and in this second part of the second (written, first chronologically) tetralogy, the centrepiece is Prince Hal, he to be Henry V. For Bolingbroke (Henry IV) is already a waning light, as Hotspur (Henry P Henry IV Part I [1596-1597] ---------------------- 'How much thou art degenerate' (3.2.128). From 'most degenerate king' (Richard II, 2.1.264), to most degenerate prince. Shakespeare clearly has the tetralogy in mind as we traverse through the breaking and making of kings of the Wars of the Roses, and in this second part of the second (written, first chronologically) tetralogy, the centrepiece is Prince Hal, he to be Henry V. For Bolingbroke (Henry IV) is already a waning light, as Hotspur (Henry Percy, Earl of Rutland), his father (Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, formerly Henry's supporter), uncle (Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester) and brother-in-law (Edmund Mortimer, Earl of [Welsh] March) team up with Welsh Glendower and Scottish Douglas to supplant the king with he nominated by Richard II, Edmund Mortimer. Thus the history. Meantime, in the comedy, Prince Hal (Henry, Prince of Wales) is up to drunken antics with his jolly rotund friend Falstaff, which reputation, and scarcity there, the court and his father hold in poor esteem, worse, Henry IV admonishes him, than when Richard last rode in the streets. But what is clear, by the half-way mark, is that this is more the story of the making of a king than of the undoing of one. This is Part One of Henry V's story, his coming-of-age and resumption of his royal and honorial duty. The play is held in high esteem for these several reasons: the powerful dramatization through character of historic episodes; the story of Prince Hal, the comic irreverent characterisation of Falstaff, and the merger of history and comedy. But interestingly, not a lot is made of the language, a mix of verse and prose, but with very little poetry. Rather, the form determines the genre, the verse belonging to royalty and nobility, the prose to the commoners and comedy, as expected. Yet in other plays - Richard II notably, one is always bearing it in mind as we read this - there is some exquisitely rendered speech, but not here. It is a beast of a different order. That combination of verse/prose is its generic formality, and fits the purpose, but where does it shine, as Richard does, through the tears and pain of his tearing soul? The difference, of course, is that tragedy quite often draws forth phenomenal poetry, whereas these less emotionally powerful genres do not. Of course, this variation is but another string of accomplishment to Shakespeare's bow, and is superbly balanced, but for most of us, it's those passages of passionate poetry that make a play great beyond its technical merits, it's the searing flashes of 'Tomorrow' and 'But hark' and 'Why should a dog, a horse, a rat...' or 'the cloud-capped towers' which meld in the mind and elevate a play and his canon. But nonetheless, one worth re-reading after 40 years. Having lived as a youth a couple of fields away from Battlefield, Shrewsbury my home town, the mystery is now cleared up. I usually read the RSC Macmillan texts which use the first Folio (1623) for its sources. There are several benefits to this: there is consistency between the presentations of the texts, including the assigned dates of writing of the plays; each individual text provides a decent introduction, which while not sufficient for academic study (such as the Arden and Norton series), is enough to map the action and context to aid understanding when reading the plays; all footnotes, while too comprehensive, covering words which any dictionary would provide for, and so don't need glossing, are all beneath the referenced text; they come with very helpful tables of historical events (chronology of kings, key historical dates) with the histories; there is a full coverage of the pays in performance, with director interviews, which help further discuss the plays' themes and characterisation. I also like the layout and the paper they are printed on. In a rare exception (I had a bursary remnant left to spend) I took this dual publication of the Henry IV plays, which does not match those advantages, except in introduction only. Footnotes are at the end, along with a glossary, not typically separated. This can speed up the reading, but when you do need to look something up, it takes more time, only fractionally, but enough to irritate after a short while. But the thing that rankles is the lack of modern conventional referencing. It's simple: if you quote from a text, always subscript with the play, act, scene and line(s) so that you know exactly where the reference pertains, providing instant context. While this publication is very recent (2013), the lack of this unversal convention is frustrating. There is a modern standard - for very practical purposes - why not use it? However, this is a Wordsworth Classics printing, and I should have expected such. Or should I? Surely the cost is not prohibitive, using universal modern scholarly conventions? As it was, I reverted to my old copy because of the annotations beneath. Henry IV Part II [1597-1598] [1598] ---------------------------- 'Part 2 [Henry IV] is the necessary complement of Hal's evolution, and Henry's, and Falstaff's' (A.R. Humphreys, 'Introduction', Arden 2nd Edition, 1962, rpt. 1977, p.xxv). The demise of the (old) King, the rise of the (new) King, and the fall of the (old) fool. We leave 1HIV at the end of the Battle of Shrewsbury (1403), Henry IV victorious over the rebels Hotspur (Henry Percy, Earl of Rutland), his father (Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, formerly Henry's supporter, absent as 'sick'), uncle (Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester) and brother-in-law (Edmund Mortimer, Earl of [Welsh] March, absent without excuse - though likely absent since his father, Glendower, is also absent), the Welsh Glendower (absent as having insufficient time to raise his force) and Scottish Douglas (fighting until capture). (It gets a bit complicated in the rebel camp, since Shakespeare compounded two Mortimer's). Prince Hal has redeemed himself in honour by defeating Hotpsur hand-to-hand, and then in defence of his father the King, against a winning Douglas. Prince John (HIV's younger son) is equally honoured for his bravery. Falstaff, meanwhile, has been floored by Douglas, feigning death until Douglas moves on, but witnesses Hal's defeat of Hotspur, later claiming that kill for himself, pretending Hotspur was not dead, but rose as he did, they fought, and Falstaff vanquished him. Hal, hearing this story, gives Falstaff leave to claim the honour. It ends with Prince John and Westmoreland sent to rout the Archbishop of York, Richard Scroop, and Northumberland, the absent conspirators, around York, while Henry IV and Prince Hal go to meet the absent Glendower and the Earl of March, Mortimer, towards Wales. 1HIV ends, then, with much completed business - the rebels are largely defeated, Hotspur, the military ring-leader, hot on honour, dead, Douglas freed without ransom, having shown much honour on the battlefield, Falstaff, satirist of honour, floating his wildest con trick yet, with Hal's silent permission, and Hal redeemed as the worthy Prince and heir. But there is much uncompleted business: the remainder of the rebel forces are to be encountered, Hal and Falstaff are to work out their differences, including the false claim of Hotspur's prize, and Henry IV remains melancholic at his troubled kingdom rife with rebellion and civil war, as prophesied by the Bishop of Carlisle to Bolingbroke (Henry IV) during the abdication/deposition scene of Richard II (1595-6, 4.1). Shrewsbury is thus an 'interim triumph' (p.xxiv) in the internecine strife, bringing 'each man to a destiny we perceive to be appropriate' (p.xxv, quoting Jenkins, The Structural Problem in Shakespeare's Henry the Fourth, 1956). 2HIV is the workings-out of those fates towards the death of Henry IV and the accession by Prince Hal as Henry V, looking towards his triumph at Agincourt in Henry V (1599), rounding off the first Henriad (3 Henry plays) and the first tetralogy, chronologically/historically, the second to be written. If confusion still reigns, it is because of that Mortimer! Keeping track of the barons throughout the histories is their essential difficulty, unless, like Northumberland, they reappear. This is largely because of their lack of characterisation, unlike the principals, who are necessarily developed. Who can say, who is not familiar with the history, what essential difference there is between Mortimer and Mowbray, or Worcester and Mortimer, whereas John of Gaunt, though appearing briefly, stood out against Richard II because of his oppositional logic, let alone the 'Sceptred Isle' speech (this happy land against an unhappy king). What is clear is that Part 1 is about Hal's chivalric redemption, and Part 2 is about Hal redeeming himself in learning Good Rule, ready for his inheritance. 1HIV was a strange yet well-constructed beast: strange because it has Prince Hal as its principal protagonist (only just, with Hotspur the military paradigm), not its title character, and while it brings us comedy, it doesn't bring us tragedy, which was the dominant generic tone of its historic predecessor, Richard II; well-constructed because it strikes a good balance between the chronicle of history and the comedy of Falstaff and his tavern friends; yet not great because it lacked the brilliant articulation of the soul-tearing pain in the tragedy of Richard II, which rose to exquisite metaphysical heights of pathos. The Arden edition goes some way to compare the dramas with its main sources, Holinshead's Chronicles Of England (2nd Ed., 1587), and Samuel Daniel's The First Four Books Of The Civil Wars Between The Two Houses Of Lancaster And York (1595). While Part 1 adheres dramatically closer to Daniel, Part 2 uses the latter for tone, the events scrappier for the sequel. At 3255 lines, 2HIV is slightly longer than 1HIV (3041). 2HIV summarises its heritage via the Prologue (or Induction) by Rumour. This is an apt device to create the atmosphere of unrest from rebellion and civil war which pervades the two plays, carrying it over from the first part into the current political climate. For what Richard II initiated, 1HIV explored and 2HIV takes up to its resolution, is that, in between the comedy and capers, it earnestly discusses the ideas of kingship, leadership and statecraft, of having kings fit for government. We know in the reading of these 3 plays that in the end kingship comes good as Henry V proves himself a strong king (he disposes of his conspiring enemies at home before going off to war), a valiant leader (he leads the English to miraculous victory in France) and a savvy stateman (he marries the defeated French royalty). While Richard II was salient in its depiction of the tragedy of loss of kingship of divine right, it raised questions about the assumption of kingship in Bolingbroke's deposition of Richard, and the 2 Henry IVs explore both the guilt and troubles arising from that act. For, even while Mortimer and Hotspur and the rebels may have had a case, they did not seem fit to rule should they have succeeded, dividing up the realm instead of uniting it. And whatever the articulation of their grievances, at the heart of their assumed justification was the shared tacit belief that Henry didn't have the same legitimacy of right to the crown as Richard did, as though religious sanction qualified kingship more legitimately than the will of the people. So essentially they were conservative rebels, not democratic ones. Legitimacy depends on religious and political stance, as well as on baronial privilege and favour. Historical military manoeuvrings aside, this is a play about the parting between Hal and Falstaff as much as Henry's maturing into kingship. In Richard Eyre's excellent Hollow Crown episode of Henry IV Part 1, Hal leaves the Boar's Head after Poins has convinced him into the double robbery, and we see Hal walking through the alleys of London with his voice-over of the 'I know you all' speech (1.2.199-221). As he wends this way and that in that filthy hive of busyness, he is recognised and nodded to by all and sundry, and this excellent minute says so much more about his position as king-elect and the natural royal responsibility in him than the soliloquy does itself alone. We see the royal person behind the jesting carouser, and we hold it in a place of reserve, as he holds his head royally up, quietly proud of what and who he is. He is quite aware of his responsibility, and this awareness we carry through into the 'disrepute' theme in Part 2. So when the final rejection of Falstaff comes from his royal mouth, we are not entirely surprised: it is not as if he has outgrown Falstaff, but, aware of his destiny from the start, we know as he knows that a reckoning must come. What much has been made of is that in the process, Hal, now Henry, seems to lose something of himself, some generosity which both he and Falstaff stood for in the earlier play. We feel him withdraw his emotional validation of Falstaff, and when the emotions are withdrawn, we feel their lack. Falstaff indeed becomes a pathetic figure, and for all his several references in Part 1 of Hal's royal destiny, and that he will himself amend his own life, he hasn't himself evolved, and the future he is always trying to forestall with 'sack' has caught up with him. We are left, not with a sentimental old fool, but a sad and pathetic one, and where in Part 1 we shared in the balance of ribald play and brutal war, as Hal himself charts his progression to adulthood, we are here left with but the loss of innocence, and feel the loss in the rejection of Falstaff. Falstaff is judged and found wanting, and we feel for him; Henry is harshly authoritarian, without feeling, and we resent this lack of his earlier humanity. This jars emotionally. It is, thus, a petty tragedy. Perhaps it is indeed its affinity with tragedy that makes 2HIV feel a deeper play than 1HIV, but not only: the comedy (between Hal and Falstaff) is reduced (certainly, it becomes pastiche, if we already know Falstaff's fate), yet the comedy of the Falstaffian scenes in 1HIV was the counterbalance to its historic-chivalric theme; and that comedy was reduced, ultimately, to satire in Falstaff's negative discourse on honour. Further, we know what becomes of Hal now, and Falstaff is to mend his ways if he is to evolve similarly - but he doesn't. And that, perhaps, is one of the central reasons why we like him, but in his place: he is too fond of his 'sack', and always will be. His own witty comedy is now saddled with a tiredness approaching a mild despair, reflected in the tristesse that tinges the witty observations of his (once) colleagues in jest: 'Is it not strange that desire should so many years outlive performance?' (2.4.258-9) is both witty, funny and sad at once. But while humbled by the new King, his hubris (overbearing pride, presumption, arrogance:) does, of course, live on beyond these histories, in The Merry Wives Of Windsor (1600-1601), in all his fulness. Meanwhile, history has moved on, and the ramshackle politics of Richard II, 1HIV and 2HIV - placed in doubt by Bolingbroke fumbling into kingship in Richard's spiralling decline, and his doubts about his legitimacy till his death - are now to fall away, as Henry V, with iron-fisted certainty (and courtly-gloved gallantry), is to forge a new (if brief) military-diplomatic course before the flowers of England, the red and the white, bestrew the Sceptred Isle once more. But what an accrual of history and culture! *** This Wordsworth edition was bought with the remnant of a bursary, which I had to spend by the end of my degree course. It is okay for a starter, and has a decent Introduction. But it has two clear faults: the commentary is not in footnotes beneath, but at the back, along with a glossary, which is both an inconvenience and an unnecessary split. I reverted, with both plays, to dedicated volumes, and for 2HIV, this was an Arden edition, that in the end had too much commentary for a leisurely read, but is (updated to the recent 3rd Edition, an excellent series) aimed at scholarly study. You pays your money, and you takes your choice.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Steve Hemmeke

    In part 1, a play in itself, Henry has taken the throne but is uneasy since he usurped it from Richard II. He wants to go on crusade to unify his kingdom but has too much trouble with rebels on his borders (Scotland and Wales) and within from the Percy family and its firebrand son Hotspur. His own son, Harry, who will be Henry V, is carousing with Falstaff, which troubles him greatly. But when battle is joined against the rebels, Harry shows his stuff and kills Hotspur. Falstaff also shows his st In part 1, a play in itself, Henry has taken the throne but is uneasy since he usurped it from Richard II. He wants to go on crusade to unify his kingdom but has too much trouble with rebels on his borders (Scotland and Wales) and within from the Percy family and its firebrand son Hotspur. His own son, Harry, who will be Henry V, is carousing with Falstaff, which troubles him greatly. But when battle is joined against the rebels, Harry shows his stuff and kills Hotspur. Falstaff also shows his stuff, cheating, deceiving and dishonorably avoiding fighting his way back home. The second part of Henry IV is all about betrayals, some right and some wrong. Rebels York, Northumberland, and Prince John all show the dastardly kind of betrayal, rising up against Henry again. The rebels betray each other as well, such that their strength is no longer enough to match the king. But on the other hand, Prince Harry does right to betray Falstaff in the end, who is expecting friendship and favors from the newly crowned king. Instead Henry V stands by the chief justice who locked him up once for his carousing. He deals well with his nobles, a promising beginning to a new reign. When we act dishonorably we should not expect honor. We always have the opportunity to set aside folly and begin a life of loyalty to the virtuous.

  10. 5 out of 5

    João Esteves

    Part 1: I would like to say i did or didn't enjoy the plot but i think, in Shakespeare, you have the book more than once. From what i understood, though, i didn't like too much of it. Too many characters. The only one that caught my attention was Falstaff and his comedic interventions. Part 2: Same problem as the 1st Part, although i think that you can understand this Part's plot better than the 1st Part. Still, i liked the attitude Hal took at the end of the book and Falstaff, once again, made m Part 1: I would like to say i did or didn't enjoy the plot but i think, in Shakespeare, you have the book more than once. From what i understood, though, i didn't like too much of it. Too many characters. The only one that caught my attention was Falstaff and his comedic interventions. Part 2: Same problem as the 1st Part, although i think that you can understand this Part's plot better than the 1st Part. Still, i liked the attitude Hal took at the end of the book and Falstaff, once again, made my reading much better. I think he's the only reason i'm giving it a 3 out of 5.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sparrow

    Henry IV, Part 1 This was a surprising play. It started out rather boring for me, but towards the 4th and 5th acts, it got a lot better. I suppose this was due to the need for exposition before action. I'm glad I was required to read this for school, otherwise I would never have read it. This was an interesting view of British royalty vs. rebels. I loved Hotspur :) Henry IV, Part 1 This was a surprising play. It started out rather boring for me, but towards the 4th and 5th acts, it got a lot better. I suppose this was due to the need for exposition before action. I'm glad I was required to read this for school, otherwise I would never have read it. This was an interesting view of British royalty vs. rebels. I loved Hotspur :)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Fennec

    "We have heard the chimes at midnight." - Falstaff "We have heard the chimes at midnight." - Falstaff

  13. 5 out of 5

    J. A. Wooton

    Just read "Part 1" for class Just read "Part 1" for class

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bill Bill

    I kind of feel like giving this a rating is a bit weird; you might as well read a film script and say you watched it... but the text on its own is definitely worth engaging with. I would probably struggle to comprehend a production of these plays without any pre req understanding of the text/context, so this is my attempt to make my viewing of the plays more full. This edition is in the "Shakespeare for Dummies" kind of style. It has some very sparse critical notes on the page which help every n I kind of feel like giving this a rating is a bit weird; you might as well read a film script and say you watched it... but the text on its own is definitely worth engaging with. I would probably struggle to comprehend a production of these plays without any pre req understanding of the text/context, so this is my attempt to make my viewing of the plays more full. This edition is in the "Shakespeare for Dummies" kind of style. It has some very sparse critical notes on the page which help every now and then but the great thing here is the side by side modern English translation, and it honestly helped me so much; I really would recommend this series to folk like me that want to engage with the bard but need a bit of help to wrap your head around the antiquity of the language. The difficult thing isn't so much the vocab (though there are words that aren't in use at all, or words which are used but mean different things), but the grammar; the syntax is really quite foreign in some places and even conjunctions and basic building block words have different uses. This edition helps you to get past these problems and come out of reading with a full understanding of what just happened. Really helpful tool this tome is.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Joey

    This is definitely one of my favorite Shakespearean histories. I personally struggle to understand the exceedingly interesting use of vocabulary Shakespeare used, but this book was SO helpful! The story itself is so interesting. One of my favorite scenes is where death comes to Henry himself. I use "death" in a metaphorical way of course. Hotspur (one of my favorite characters) comes to face the man himself. Thinking he can change the ways of the king... he soon finds his grave. When I read this This is definitely one of my favorite Shakespearean histories. I personally struggle to understand the exceedingly interesting use of vocabulary Shakespeare used, but this book was SO helpful! The story itself is so interesting. One of my favorite scenes is where death comes to Henry himself. I use "death" in a metaphorical way of course. Hotspur (one of my favorite characters) comes to face the man himself. Thinking he can change the ways of the king... he soon finds his grave. When I read this whole scene I was so intrigued. I honestly thought Hotspur would come out .. alive. Then again, this was not the Tragedy of Henry IV. It is his History. The translation of the book really helped me zoom through it at a more sufficient speed. I could read and understand the text in a good way. The cool part is how modern and more "realistic" it makes the story sound. For me, of course, this was very helpful. It was in the voice I knew. I actually really give my thanks to those who sat down and translated this massive book into modern English. That is true talent if anything. I really enjoyed it! I definitely think it is a good read ;)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mike Futcher

    The two parts of Henry IV have all of Shakespeare's usual features for his history plays: intrigue and ringing dialogue, offset by the difficulty in knowing just who is who and on which side they fight. The Bard has done the history play better – see Henry V or Richard III (or Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra) – but Henry IV's selling point is the presence of Falstaff: young Prince Hal's roguish drinking buddy and all-round scoundrel. The first part of Henry IV is the better part for this v The two parts of Henry IV have all of Shakespeare's usual features for his history plays: intrigue and ringing dialogue, offset by the difficulty in knowing just who is who and on which side they fight. The Bard has done the history play better – see Henry V or Richard III (or Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra) – but Henry IV's selling point is the presence of Falstaff: young Prince Hal's roguish drinking buddy and all-round scoundrel. The first part of Henry IV is the better part for this very reason (Hal sobers up in Part 2), as Shakespeare lovingly forges the glint in Falstaff's eye. It is an inheritance of "wrenching the true cause the false way" (pg. 153) that would reach heights in the following centuries with the likes of Huck Finn, Jack Sparrow and Harry Flashman. The newly-anointed Hal of Part 2 might disavow the rogue, but the readers never will.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Garry

    Henry IV parts one and two, the plays by William Shakespeare. No Fear edition. Struggling with the choice between a perfect rating of 5 and a slightly lesser one of 4. Entertaining reading, but not consistently so. Interesting but not on every page. Prince Hal and his back and forth dialog with the infamous rogue John Falstaff is the main attraction. Entertainment on a high level and supported by a helpful translation throughout. "If I had a thousand sons, the first human principle I would teach Henry IV parts one and two, the plays by William Shakespeare. No Fear edition. Struggling with the choice between a perfect rating of 5 and a slightly lesser one of 4. Entertaining reading, but not consistently so. Interesting but not on every page. Prince Hal and his back and forth dialog with the infamous rogue John Falstaff is the main attraction. Entertainment on a high level and supported by a helpful translation throughout. "If I had a thousand sons, the first human principle I would teach them should be to forswear weak drinks and addict themselves to wine." "Discretion is the better part of valor." So Falstaff pretends to be dead on the battlefield, then gets up, stabs the dead body of of the leader of the other army and carries it off to claim that he was the one who killed him.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Whiskey

    These plays follow the rise of Prince Hal, son of Henry IV, from wastrel cavalier to powerful King Henry V, who would lead the English army to victory over the French at Agincourt in 1415, as dramatized in Henry V. Hal’s maturation from rioting prince to deadly serious king is not without complications, however, as he renounces a festive underworld of great verbal richness, unparalleled wit, and creative energy for a ruthless, sinister, and murderous world of Machiavellian politics where might e These plays follow the rise of Prince Hal, son of Henry IV, from wastrel cavalier to powerful King Henry V, who would lead the English army to victory over the French at Agincourt in 1415, as dramatized in Henry V. Hal’s maturation from rioting prince to deadly serious king is not without complications, however, as he renounces a festive underworld of great verbal richness, unparalleled wit, and creative energy for a ruthless, sinister, and murderous world of Machiavellian politics where might equals right. The most famous casualty of this transformation is Shakespeare’s greatest comic creation, Sir John Falstaff, Hal’s boon companion in Part I, whom the prince summarily rejects in Part II.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ray

    It's generally a funny play. I really like Prince Harry and his character. It's hard to pin down his personality at times, whether it's his values or his intentions. In one scene he seems like a drunken disappointment of a Prince, while in another scene he's convincing and clever. I really believe he is most fit as a King, compared to King Richard and King Henry because of his ability to change depending on the circumstance. I also enjoyed the contrast between him and the characters around him, It's generally a funny play. I really like Prince Harry and his character. It's hard to pin down his personality at times, whether it's his values or his intentions. In one scene he seems like a drunken disappointment of a Prince, while in another scene he's convincing and clever. I really believe he is most fit as a King, compared to King Richard and King Henry because of his ability to change depending on the circumstance. I also enjoyed the contrast between him and the characters around him, whether it is his father or Hotspur or Falstaff. I am certainly curious how Shakespeare wanted us to think of these characters in comparison to him.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    I'm in the middle of Henry IV Part One with the girls, so I hoped Bloom's book would be helpful as I organized my thoughts. Unbeknownst to me, this book is actually a short love letter to Falstaff and the complete texts of the Henry IV plays--not quite what I was looking for. This was my first time reading Bloom. I've heard plenty of criticism of the man and his writing, but wanted to give him a fair shot. I don't love his writing--while he clearly respects and loves Shakespeare, there's an unde I'm in the middle of Henry IV Part One with the girls, so I hoped Bloom's book would be helpful as I organized my thoughts. Unbeknownst to me, this book is actually a short love letter to Falstaff and the complete texts of the Henry IV plays--not quite what I was looking for. This was my first time reading Bloom. I've heard plenty of criticism of the man and his writing, but wanted to give him a fair shot. I don't love his writing--while he clearly respects and loves Shakespeare, there's an undercurrent of "only I have this right and anyone who disagrees is an idiot," which I don't love.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Danell Jones

    If you haven't read the two part of Henry IV, do so now. The wonderful story of the roguish young prince who must learn how to become a king. It features, of course, the unforgettable Falstaff--corrupter of youth, lover of life, an id-driven force of nature. If you haven't read the two part of Henry IV, do so now. The wonderful story of the roguish young prince who must learn how to become a king. It features, of course, the unforgettable Falstaff--corrupter of youth, lover of life, an id-driven force of nature.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Muhammad Shahab

    Every play of Shakespeare is wonderful. In the Henry the Fourth Lart 1, Falstaff is one of the all times favorite characters in the history of English literature. His wordplay, wit and topsy turvy nature is dashing. He takes nothing seriously not even at the battlefield.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jandro

    This was a hard read. It took me five weeks to read. I’ll cut myself some slack because it’s two large, very dry plays in one. The translation was excellent. It made this very difficult play that much easier to read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Melinda

    They can talk about No Fear if they want, but it got me over the hump.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Channelle

    Thoroughly enjoyed this one!

  26. 4 out of 5

    ashlyn

    i only read part 1 but i couldn't find that lolz. i watched part 2 i only read part 1 but i couldn't find that lolz. i watched part 2

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kirk

    Prince: I know you all, and will a while uphold The unyoked humor of your idleness. Yet herein will I imitate the sun, Who doth permit the base contagious clouds To smother up his beauty from the world, That when he please again to be himself, Being wanted he may be more wondered at By breaking through the foul and ugly mists Of vapors that did seem to strangle him. If all the year were playing holidays, To sport would be as tedious as to work; But when they seldom come, they wished-for come, And nothing pl Prince: I know you all, and will a while uphold The unyoked humor of your idleness. Yet herein will I imitate the sun, Who doth permit the base contagious clouds To smother up his beauty from the world, That when he please again to be himself, Being wanted he may be more wondered at By breaking through the foul and ugly mists Of vapors that did seem to strangle him. If all the year were playing holidays, To sport would be as tedious as to work; But when they seldom come, they wished-for come, And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents. So when this loose behavior I throw off And pay the debt I never promised, By how much better than my word I am, By so much shall I falsify men’s hopes; And like bright metal on a sullen ground, My reformation, glitt’ring o’er my fault, Shall show me goodly and attract more eyes Than that which hath no foil to set it off. I’ll so offend to make offense a skill, Redeeming time when men think least I will. King: How many thousands of my poorest subjects Are at this hour asleep! O sleep, O gentle sleep, Nature’s soft nurse, how have I frighted thee, That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down And steep my senses in forgetfulness? Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs, Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee, And hushed with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber, Than in the perfumed chambers of the great, Under the canopies of costly state, And lulled with sound of sweetest melody? O thou dull god, why liest thou with the vile In loathsome beds, and leavest the kingly couch A watch-case or a common ‘larum bell? Wilt thou upon the high and giddy mast Seal up the shipboy’s eyes, and rock his brains In cradle of the rude imperious surge And in the visitation of the winds, Who take the ruffian billows by the top, Curling their monstrous heads and hanging them With deafing clamor in the slippery clouds, That, with the hurly, death itself awakes? Canst thou, O partial sleep, give thy repose To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude, And, in the calmest and most stillest night, With all appliances and means to boot, Deny it to a king? Then happy low, lie down! Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Edacheeky

    King Henry IV part 1 was simultaneously actually quite enjoyable to read and also really weird. For starters, it was just freaking hilarious, like I couldn't take it seriously when the tavern scenes came on. There were, however, a few great quotes among the um.... plain... weird... ones. Um, yeah, it was a different side of Shakespeare that I thoroughly enjoyed in all its hilarious weirdness. For example: "Death hath not struck so fat a deer today" - Hal (view spoiler)[at a fake-dead Falstaff (hi King Henry IV part 1 was simultaneously actually quite enjoyable to read and also really weird. For starters, it was just freaking hilarious, like I couldn't take it seriously when the tavern scenes came on. There were, however, a few great quotes among the um.... plain... weird... ones. Um, yeah, it was a different side of Shakespeare that I thoroughly enjoyed in all its hilarious weirdness. For example: "Death hath not struck so fat a deer today" - Hal (view spoiler)[at a fake-dead Falstaff (hide spoiler)] . Translation: "Death hasn't taken anyone as fat today." - facepalm. I was expecting some dramatic speech, but then, that happened. I couldn't help but laugh at the randomness. I felt bad for poor Falstaff, all the characters wouldn't stop fat-shaming him! Then there were a few pages over which characters argued about who had the biggest impact on the Earth when they were born - like one was saying they made the earth shake, then the other said they made meteors fall, etc. Oh, it was hilarious. For the most part, this play can be summarized in one line: "Come, come, no more of this unprofitable chat" - "Enough already; stop this useless talking." Well, at least the useless talking was entertaining. And certain ideas were thought-provoking like Falstaff's speech on honour, and Shakespeare's notions of power and politics. I would recommend King Henry IV to those who like Shakespeare's classic thrilling plays about politics but need a good dose of humour (a.k.a. me).

  29. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    This is one of the historical fiction play I've read by Shakespeare, it's fast, funny, historical and portrays the complicated father son relationship with much psychological depth. There are plenty of characters perfectly suit for dramatic and comic effect which makes the play well rounded. With no fear Shakespeare guide, it helped me understand the old English. Overtime, I was compelled to read the original play and made my own interpretation and understanding of the text. Really pleased I ma This is one of the historical fiction play I've read by Shakespeare, it's fast, funny, historical and portrays the complicated father son relationship with much psychological depth. There are plenty of characters perfectly suit for dramatic and comic effect which makes the play well rounded. With no fear Shakespeare guide, it helped me understand the old English. Overtime, I was compelled to read the original play and made my own interpretation and understanding of the text. Really pleased I made myself read this. It will be the first of many of his plays and hopefully, I'll pick it up again next time.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Dambro

    The story of the relationship between Hal/Henry V and Falstaff. Dr. Bloom argues persuasively that Falstaff is one the most fully realized characters in English literature. The other is Hamlet. The interplay between Hal and Falstaff is the stuff of legends. It is indeed presumptuous to try to judge the plays. One can only begin to understand the nature of the human. It bears rereading and much thought. One feels that one has been in the presence of greatness.

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