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Henry IV, Part II by William Shakespeare

Henry IV, Part II

by William Shakespeare

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
Before he was urging on his troops with words like “band of brothers”, Henry V was just Hal. He liked to drink and carouse and ignore his father’s wishes. He was not yet the warrior king he would become. I loved watching him start to transform in this play. These plays are part of the eight that make up Shakespeare’s War of the Roses histories.

Sir John Falstaff is great character. He is the epitome of the classic fool. He is constantly looking for a new way to get out of work and cheat someone. He is the butt of Hal’s jokes and his drinking buddy, but nothing ever seems to faze the corpulent coward. He reminds me of Thénardier in Les Misérables

In Part 2 Hal finally decides to embrace his role as king he must choose a different life than the one he's been living. That includes distancing himself from the crowd he's grown so fond of.

“Presume not that I am the thing I was;
For God doth know, so shall the world perceive,
That I have turn'd away my former self;
So will I those that kept me company.”

There were moments in this play that felt much too familiar. They glorify the past while bemoaning their present situation.
“The commonwealth is sick of their own choice;
Their over-greedy love has surfeited.
An habitation giddy and unsure
Hath he that buildeth on the vulgar heart.”

“Past and to come seems best; things present, worst.”

BOTTOM LINE: I particularly loved part 1 of this pair of plays, but they are both excellent. They show that one person can rise above and choose a more noble life. They give hope for personal transformation while at the same time they highlight the sacrifices that come with power and leadership. Someone Shakespeare marries those lessons with battle scenes, bawdy comedy, and even quiet moments of romance in a way that only he seems able to do.

I would highly recommend watching the Hollow Crown series either first or in conjunction with reading the plays. They are beautifully done and helped bring the work alive for me.

“Rumour is a pipe
Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures,
And of so easy and so plain a stop
That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,
The still-discordant wavering multitude,
Can play upon it.”

“O sleep, O gentle sleep, Nature's soft nurse, how have I frightened thee. That thou no more will weigh my eyelids down, And steep my senses in forgetfulness?”

“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”

“Past and to come seems best; things present, worst.”

“How quickly nature falls into revolt when gold becomes her object!” ( )
  bookworm12 | Aug 8, 2018 |
Not a scholarly review here, just a note for myself that I read this. The drama was pretty good, but my reading mood was off and so it took me two months to finish. Not good for continuity. Even so, I was able to pick up the main characters and plot. All the side characters became rather muddled for me though. Not sure what to think of Henry V. Seems a rather calculating and mean sort of man. Used Falstaff harshly, although I don't have much sympathy or care for Falstaff, either. Not sure why people have loved him so, I found him repulsive. Possibly the language barrier? I would like to read this in a more modern language to see if it makes a difference. Loved Henry the IV's speech about sleep, or the lack thereof. Also, one of the women who gave her father-in-law (or was he her father?) what-for because he deserted her husband when he needed him most. ( )
  MrsLee | Apr 30, 2018 |
The play is very good--especially when read in sequence with the other plays of the Henriad. Although I feel it serves more as a variation on themes of the other plays than as play that introduces a specific theme into the mix of Richard 2, Henry IV Part 1 and Henry V. The edition--The Oxford Shakespeare--is adequate. Still, I generally prefer the Arden editions. ( )
  ajungherr | Mar 15, 2018 |
This play tracks the decline of the fortunes of Sir John Falstaff and the health of Henry IV. It begins with the death of Hotspur (Harry Percy) and takes in tavern antics, a rebellion against the king, and a realization by Prince Hal that he needs to step up and face his responsibilities as Prince of Wales and eventually king.

I found this play easier to keep going with than Part I. Perhaps it was the focus on Falstaff and amusing dialogue that made it easier to get through. Regardless, it definitely helps to have watched a couple of adaptations, if only to have real people to cast in the movie in my mind’s eye.

This is also one of the few Shakespeare plays where I've been sufficiently interested in the extra material to actually read it -- of particular note is the essay on "the structural problems in Henry IV", where the author discusses the question of whether Shakespeare intended to write the play as two parts or whether the second part was written later following popular demand. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Nov 23, 2017 |
This play was the third in a series of 8 which together formed Shakespeare’s masterful saga of 'History' plays chronicling the turbulent final century of the Plantagenet Dynasty from the deposition of Richard II in 1399 to the death of Richard III at Bosworth field in 1485.

Altogether, they have all the high drama of an epic saga with their vivid accounts of treachery, ambition, power, betrayal, feuding and war in an age of bloody upheaval.
If all this sounds gloomy and depressing, there are also colourful well-developed and memorable characters including the 'man mountain' plump and usually tipsy John Falstaff and the heroic Henry V as well as plenty of courage, chivalry and deeds of daring-do with a smattering of romance and humour.

Whoever said Shakespeare was boring? It should be said, however, that I could not fully appreciate these plays by simply reading them- they had to be seen as well. They are not, after all, novels, and reading through them in the way one would a book can be a tedious experience.

An increasingly unstable and insecure King Henry faces yet more rebellion and opposition from within and without.
Beset by failing health and troubled all the more by his conscience and fear of divine judgement upon him and his line for his crime of the deposition and murder of the rightful King.
The Earl of Northumberland and other nobles gather together their forces to make war against the King once again, but their readiness to negotiate proves fatal.
Meanwhile, Prince Hal still frequents the taverns of London, but his old friend Falstaff has come up with a new scheme to make gain money, prestige and hopefully the favour of the King and is the source of as much humour as before.
As King Henry's troubled reign comes to an end, however, Price Hal has some must mature to accept the great responsibility which is soon to be thrust upon him, even though it comes at the price of disowning his former companions of friends.

( )
  Medievalgirl | Oct 4, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (157 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Shakespeareprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bate, JonathanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Braunmuller, Albert RichardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Briers, LucyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Briers, RichardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brissaud, PierreIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bulman, James C.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davison, Peter HobleyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
de Souza, EdwardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Glover, JamieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harrison, George B.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hemingway, Samuel BurdettEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holland, Norman NorwoodEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Humphreys, Arthur RaleighEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mowat, Barbara A.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Poole, AdrianEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rasmussen, EricEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rasmussen, EricEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rolfe, William J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rolfe, WIlliam JamesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weis, RenéEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
Open your ears; for which of you will stop

The vent of hearing when loud Rumour speaks?
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This work is for the COMPLETE "Henry IV, Part II" ONLY. Do not combine this work with abridgements, adaptations or "simplifications" (such as "Shakespeare Made Easy"), Cliffs Notes or similar study guides, or anything else that does not contain the full text. Do not include any video recordings. Additionally, do not combine this with other plays.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 074348505X, Mass Market Paperback)

FOLGER Shakespeare Library

The world's leading center for Shakespeare studies

Each edition includes:

• Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play

• Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play

• Scene-by-scene plot summaries

• A key to famous lines and phrases

• An introduction to reading Shakespeare's language

• An essay by a leading Shakespeare scholar providing a modern perspective on the play

• Illustrations from the Folger Shakespeare Library's vast holdings of rare books

Essay by A. R. Braunmuller

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is home to the world's largest collection of Shakespeare's printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs. For more information, visit www.folger.edu.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:14 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

Powerful rebels are mustering their forces to topple the aging King Henry IV from his throne. Their success seems assured because the dying king cannot depend upon his son and heir Prince Hal. Instead, King Henry relies on the aid of the latest war hero Sir John Falstaff...and the kingdom is soon in for a big surprise.

» see all 18 descriptions

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