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Henry IV, Part II (Wars of the Roses #3)

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  11,707 Ratings  ·  351 Reviews
From the Royal Shakespeare Company – a fresh new edition of Shakespeare's profound exploration of a prince's coming of age and the rejection of old Jack Falstaff

• An illuminating introduction to Henry IV Part II by award-winning scholar Jonathan Bate
• The play - with clear and authoritative explanatory notes on each page
• A helpful scene-by-scene ana
Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 26th 2009 by Palgrave Macmillan (first published 1597)
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Bill  Kerwin

This is a much chillier, soberer world than the first part of Henry IV, lacking in both its good humor and its generosity. Falstaff is not nearly so funny apart from Hal, Prince John is a much icier foil than the mercurial Hotspur, and Hal himself--whom we wish to like--makes himself disagreeable by stealing his dying father's crown and snubbing the fat knight we love.

Yet Shakespeare, by subtle degrees, leads us to the point where we come to admire Hal and believe in his moral transformation. I
Sep 01, 2016 Brad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't consider these plays as solitary occasions. I'm all teary-eyed.

Who knew I could shed tears for poor old Falstaff, even now? I mean, sure, he's a fool and a rascal and incorrigible, but at the core of it, he and Hal were friends, weren't they?

And yet, even while I hate Hal a little for his decision, I love him all the more for it and everything else. Truly, he was the best king. Not only very aware of his audience, but always playing to every side, learning the craft of people and of hard
Aug 31, 2016 Trish rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The groundwork for this play that is full of morale and still some comic relief was given in the first part. As I said, there was a lot of history to tell so Shakespeare divided it up.

In this 2nd part, the battle of Shrewsbury is over, Hotspur is dead, Hal (King Henry IV's son) returns victorious. This part definitely focuses on Hal and his further passage from scandalous young bloke to a man of honour - and it is about Falstaff and how he falls from grace. This last bit can be seen most clearly
Ahmad Sharabiani
Henry IV, Part 2 (Wars of the Roses, #3), William Shakespeare
عنوان: بخش دوم شاه هنری چهارم؛ عنوان قراردادی: هنری چهارم - بخش دوم؛ نویسنده: ویلیام شکسپیر؛ مترجم: احمد خزاعی؛ تهران، اسفار، 1367، در 229 ص، عکس، عنوان روی جلد: هنری چهارم؛ موضوع: نمایشنامه هنری چهارم شاه انگلستان 1367 تا 1413 قرن 16 م
David Sarkies
Dec 05, 2012 David Sarkies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who have read Henry IV Part 1
Recommended to David by: Nobody, it's Shakespeare and it has Falstaff so I was bound to read it sometime
Shelves: historical
The prodigal prince returns
15 May 2013

In the particular edition of this play that I read the editors included and essay by Harold Jenkins (not that that name means anything to me) about whether Henry IV is two five act plays or one ten act play. Personally I don't care either way and would really not want to write a major thesis on that particular point, but that is probably because there is so much more with regards to Shakespearian plays, such as the nature of the human condition, and also th
Jun 25, 2011 Trevor rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
I really did expect to like this play much more than I did. I read somewhere that both plays had originally been one play, but that the Falstaff character proved so popular that Shakespeare split the play in two and added more Falstaff. This play doesn’t quite hang together as well as part one. I’m tempted to say something about sequels always being crap. In many ways this is the same story over again – but bizarrely Falstaff and Hal hardly meet in the play – they only meet as ‘friends’ once and ...more
Roy Lotz
Jun 28, 2014 Roy Lotz rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
This is the first of Shakespeare’s plays that fell completely flat for me. How could the world’s greatest dramatist write a play so singularly devoid of drama? The impending battle comes to naught; Falstaff wastes his time doing God-knows-what; and Prince Henry undergoes an instantaneous character development that is hard to believe, and even harder to approve of.

The two scenes of real conflict—when the dying king Henry IV thinks that Prince Hal is usurping the throne, and when the new king Hen
Feb 28, 2016 Liam rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This wasn't as good as the first part but it was still okay. Kind of lost interest due to there being so many characters and it all got a little hard to follow but I did really like the ending!
This second part was still enjoyable despite not being as funny as the first, and the humour being a bit cruder in my opinion. Falstaff is the same as before, but this time round he's less amusing in comparison, because by now everyone is sobering up and changing but him, who clings to his buffoonery and is made to pay for it at last. We do learn a little more of his background story, however, with the revelation that he'd not always been the libertine he currently is and that he served Mowbray, ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah Anne
Sep 29, 2016 Sarah Anne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, plays
Well, I finished! This play has a whole hell of a lot of characters and I totally couldn't keep track of who was on which side. This was not the one to read when I've had five hours of sleep per night for three weeks and I have an attention span about like a gnat.

Must reread at some point.
May 07, 2013 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
King Henry IV Part Two ends in transition, both for the English political atmosphere and for the central characters. Part of this transition takes place in the audiences' perspective. We witness the rise of a young prince and the deterioration of an illegitimate king amidst the fog of civil war. And yet Shakespeare twists the end. The truly naive patron cannot predict precisely how these events will resolve. I did not imagine King Henry IV repenting the means of his ascension, nor did I imagin ...more
Aug 21, 2011 Jimyanni rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
The Folger library edition is a very fine edition; if I were rating strictly according to the quality of the scholarship shown here, I'd cheerfully rate the book at five stars. The play itself, however, is one of the weakest of Shakespeare's plays.

The plot isn't as vile as I find the plot in the Taming of the Shrew; the misogyny displayed here is of the common, garden variety of the misogyny found throughout Shakespeare, rather than the exceptional, "beyond the call of cultural duty" variety fo
Catherine  Mustread
I love the history plays — my interest in British history has been piqued!

Reading Shakespeare’s plays in the chronological order in which he is presumed to have written them I find his growth as playwright is in direct correlation to my appreciation of his plays; and to the blog, The Play's The Thing: Reading Shakespeare with Dennis Abrams, for making that possible.

Though Hotspur was important in the transition of Hal to Henry V, I found him to be a character for whom I had little sympathy. He
Akemi G
May 03, 2016 Akemi G rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-fiction, dramas
The commonwealth is sick of their own choice,
Their over-greedy love hath surfeited.

I wasn't very impressed with Part 1, and picked this up thinking it's the continuation of action-oriented drama peppered with obscene jokes. (Even guys who like watching action movies don't enjoy reading the screenplays, do they?) Well, it mostly is like that, but there is more insights in politics and life, as in Richard II.

Still, this drama doesn't even have a protagonist. The closest it comes is Falstaff; it ca
M. D.  Hudson
Jul 31, 2009 M. D. Hudson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Again, Shakespeare's histories are sort of new to me, I am embarrassed to say. I won't try to add my feeble little voice to 300 years of Shakespearian lit crit, but I must say Falstaff on the actual page is considerably crueler, pettier and meaner than his popular image would lead one to think. He is damned funny though.

Incidentally, my recent Shakespeare jag has been via a set of 1888 Plays edited by the Rev. Hudson (no relation, so far as I know). I didn't feel like screwing around finding th
John Pistelli
Jul 06, 2015 John Pistelli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, early-modern
A strange play, even disturbing. The first part was a crowd-pleaser, full of action, comedy, and strongly individualized characters representing ideologies and ways of life from which Prince Hal, on his path to the throne, will have to choose. In this second part, events prove anti-climactic; instead of a final battle with the rebels against the usurper Henry IV, we get a rather chilling scene in which Prince John tricks them into disbanding their army with promises of truce and then has them ex ...more
Sep 21, 2014 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of the four plays that make up Shakespeare's second history cycle, Henry IV Part 2 is the one that has most difficulty in existing as a stand-alone play. The very title informs the reader/audience that they have missed out something if they failed to at least read the first part. Similarly, the action of the play follows directly on from the earlier play, with the divisions and inter-relationships already in place.

This is one reason (though not the only one) why the play is the least satisfactor
Fèe ♡
Apr 19, 2017 Fèe ♡ rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama, classics
I really enjoyed the first part but in this second part, apart from Falstaff's humour, nothing was interesting for me .
Jackson Cyril
Mar 21, 2017 Jackson Cyril rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Unimitated, unimitable Falstaff!"-- so Dr Johnson described the most brilliant character in the Henry IV plays, and it is for Falstaff that we read these two plays today. The rest of the characters, who may be interesting, are wholly and utterly overshadowed by Falstaff's girth and genuine levity.
Anand Venigalla
Jan 25, 2017 Anand Venigalla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shakespeare
Henry IV Part 2 isn't quite as exciting as the rousing and blockbuster showdown of Part 1. It's much chillier. Falstaff isn't as fun, though his rhetoric and prose is as full of the life principle as it was in Part 1. If I am not as enthused yet with Falstaff as Harold Bloom is, I do admire his characterization and his interesting fool-profundity, even as he is a thoroughly immoral character in many ways.

Mark Van Doren, in his book Shakespeare, has some words to say:

"No play of Shakespeare's is
Perry Whitford
Feb 04, 2016 Perry Whitford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second part of Henry VI starts exactly where the first part ended, with the King at war on three fronts. Rumour, in the guise of a porter, introduces us to the confusion abroad in England at that time:

'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.'

Ill rumour wafted through the fog of war can be fatal to a monarch, but it can serve them well to
Jun 28, 2015 Ricardo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Se a primeira parte transparecia um teor optimista, pincelado pelas tropelias que Falstaff induzia o príncipe herdeiro a praticar, nesta segunda encontramos um Falstaff pessimista, saudosista e cada vez mais consciente da sua própria decadência. Leva-me a crer, se tal é possível para esta personagem, que sente alguns remorsos por ter desencaminhado alguém de quem o autor tem como objectivo final atribuir uma espécie de redenção gloriosa em França.
Não é só Sir John que sente o peso da velhice ent
Oct 15, 2011 Arcadius rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

We left Part 1 with the battle won, but not the war, so justifying the sequel. What we discover in Part 2, however, is that the rebels have actually had the stuffing knocked out of them at Shrewsbury. Deprived of Hotspur’s drive and Worcester’s brains, this sorry lot never really look like getting their act together - and in the end, they just fold before the efficient ruthlessness of Westmorland and Prince John. So much for the central action of the play.

Of course, 2H4 was also intended as a sh
RUMOUR: Open your ears, for which of you
will stop
The vent of hearing when loud Rumour
I, from the orient to the drooping west,
Making the wind my post-horse, still unfold
The acts commenced on this ball of earth:
Upon my tongues continual slanders ride,
The which in every language I pronounce,
Stuffing the ears of men with false reports...
-Act I Scene I

I made a prediction that I wouldn't like this installation of the Henry IV set as much as the first part, and... I was right. There is no doubt
Marty Reeder
Mar 23, 2011 Marty Reeder rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I find it comforting to know that sequels were not just products of the 20 and 21st Century's shameless quest for capitalizing off of previous successes. This, apparently, has been around as long as literature, and Shakespeare is no exception--as King Henry IV, Part 2 so readily attests.

Of course, it is less comforting to know that sequels are generally not as dynamic or impacting as their predecessors--with notable exceptions to this rule, but KHIVP2 is not one of them.

The same, intriguing char
Caidyn (BW Book Reviews)
Again, the continuation of Prince Hal's becoming. Wow, never thought I would write that. Thanks, Hannibal. ANYWAYS. This is basically the second part of the Henry V prequel. You have Prince Hal slowly growing up after defeating Hotspur in battle. Slowly stepping up to the plate of being the next king. Getting rid of those friends who weren't good for him and making friends with people he once would have thought too stuffy and into their job. A great play that was made even better by Falstaff, ba ...more
Dec 09, 2014 Patrice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The continuing history of the British crown, but what overshadows all is the incredible character of Falstaff.
He seems to be part of the drama and yet set apart. Ageless. He seems more real than the real historical characters.
Who is he? An Elizabethan hippie? Our inner child? I'm still not sure but I do know that he interests me more than anyone else. He seems to go through life free, guiltless, without worry. I keep thinking of those other Shakespearean lines about how life is nothing but sound
Lexxie (un)Conventional Bookviews
Finished reading this just in time for a test today o.O I don't know why, but I've mostly felt like reading contemporary stories lately.

Full review will come later, as I'm going to London and Stratford-upon-Avon in May with Uni to see all the plays we are reading for class.

This and all my other reviews are originally posted on my blog (un)Conventional Bookviews
From frivolous to somber we travel with Hal, leaving Falstaff with bitter gall and the kingdom taken on by another. Worthy or not, he steps up, reviling the motley crowd of the past (with a slight hypocritical aftertaste), forward into "responsibility" heaving its weight and aging its victim.
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William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been tr ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Wars of the Roses (8 books)
  • Richard II
  • King Henry IV, Part 1 (Wars of the Roses, #2)
  • Henry V
  • Henry VI, Part 1
  • King Henry VI, Part 2
  • King Henry VI, Part 3
  • Richard III

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