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

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  7,338 ratings  ·  205 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...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 26th 2009 by Palgrave Macmillan (first published 1600)
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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
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 imagine...more
M. D.  Hudson
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more

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...more
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...more
Justin Evans
Overall, I thought this was less interesting than Henry V, but that might just be because I paid more attention to HV (I have to teach it; I read this for kicks). There's not a whole lot of beautiful Shakespeare moments, the humor didn't hit me (possibly my fault, of course), and the best bit was probably the Induction, in which Rumour discourses on herself. On the upside, I learned the word 'fustilarian' and the phrase 'I'll tickle your catastrophe!', and I'm pretty sure I now understand the ti...more
Jan 08, 2013 Dave marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: calibre, fiction
SUMMARY: After defeat at the Battle of Shrewsbury the rebels regroup. But Prince Hal's reluctance to inherit the crown threatens to destroy the ailing Henry IV's dream of a lasting dynasty. Shakespeare's portrait of the prodigal son's journey from youth to maturity embraces the full panorama of society. Under the editorial supervision of Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen, two of today's most accomplished Shakespearean scholars, this Modern Library series incorporates definitive texts and authorit...more
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...more
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
A little boring, really, after Henry IV Part 1. While Part 1 focused on a coming of age of a new king, Part 2 focuses on bowing out--SPOILER Henry IV dies and Falstaff is old, is old, as he plaintive cries, sending his urine out for tests and being dismissed for his white-haired buffoonery. The key scene is just awkwardness, instead of being sweet battle scenes, like Part 1, but in someway that matches the themes: coming of age is big, bold and bloody while leaving is staggered, misunderstood, a...more
Yet again, Henry IV Part II is not truly the story of Henry IV, but it does contain his signature line, "Heavy is the head..." This is the conclusion of the story of Hal's journey from a spoiled rich brat palling around with a criminal class to King of England. Falstaff yet again gets the majority of the lines in this play and most of them are about drinking and whoring. By the end of Part II, for me the whole routine is starting to get old. Here we see a contrast between the sullen, taciturn He...more
I absolutely loved this play! I really feel like the first few acts are more about Falstaff than anybody else, which was very interesting. It also allowed me to see into Falstaff and get a better idea of who he was. I also really love him now! So the first part of the play was very happy, I felt. Act's 4 and 5 are beautiful in terms of character development for Henry V. You get to see him really mature within these acts (and, really, the whole play), from an immature prince to a proud king. I lo...more
Brian Barbour
This is one of my favorites of Shakespeare's works for the simple fact that we get to see Hal come to the cross roads of his life. Henry V does a great job showing us what kind of man he becomes once he makes the decision to abandon his wild ways and accept his role in the Monarchy of England.
I enjoyed both parts of "Henry IV", although Part 1 was my favorite. I do wonder if Shakespeare knew that this would be true. The ending of this play - which includes a Dancer apologizing for the ending - made me smile. I suppose that, even with a heavy Tudor bias, Shakespeare couldn't completely rewrite history and make Henry IV's death more exciting.

I liked his transformation of Prince Hal into Henry V, which really does seem to be the focus of these two plays - far more than Henry IV himself...more
The old man dies, a young man questions his fate. Tavern wenches tempt the weak and politics are the talk of the day . Sound familiar? Shakespeare is still relatable today, whodathunk it?
Falstaff, Falstaff, Falstaff, why are you so annoying, why are you so annoying Falstaff? And Shallow, Shallow, Shallow, why are you so, so, so, so, so, so repetitive?

This was a choppy read for me, and I think reading it so broken up affected my overall reaction to it (I wonder if a future reread might not earn it another star). My favorite part of the story was easily the last two acts, which I read more or less in one sitting -- and I don't think it was entirely a coincidence that the part I loved best was the part I was able to read in one go.

Then again, after falling in such utter love with "Henry IV, Part 1," I wonder if enjoying the sequel less was just...more
Aditya Mallya
'Henry IV, Part 2' definitely marks a bit of a lull in Shakespeare's tetralogy on the War of the Roses, and doesn't quite match up to its predecessors - the excellent 'Richard II' and 'Henry IV, Part 1'.

The play has its moments, but contains too much filler. To be honest, I found it staggeringly boring at times.

“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
Megan Olsen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Grimaud
THIS IS THE THIRD play of a tetralogy (four sequential plays) that fictionalizes the rising of the English royal House of Lancaster. As Henry IV, Part 1, ended, the first conflict of a major rebellion has been successfully won by the crown, with Prince Harry (or "Hal') rising to the occasion. The prince who began Part 1 as a young scoundrel given to raucous behavior, continues his character development in Part 2, such that when his father, Henry IV, dies at the end of the play, Harry seems truly...more

In the first part of this series Henry Bolingbroke has deposed his cousin King Richard II and became King Henry IV.
Now, constantly haunted by guilt, he plans a crusade to wash away his sins, while the very same people who helped him to the throne are planning to overthrow him and put a Yorkist claimer on it and stir troubles in both Wales and Scotland.
But his troubles are not only abroad but also closer to home - his heir has no intention to fulfill his duties as the Prince of Wales and rather d...more
After Hotspur’s defeat at Shrewsbury, other defiant rebel bands pose a continued threat to English peace. However, the play lacks the same drama as in Part One. The rebellion dissipates through Northumberland’s inconstancy and John of Lancaster’s ruse on the Archbishop of York and allied lords.

The rebellion once again turns into backstory as the plot follows the further development of Prince Hal and Falstaff. This time, their paths rarely cross as Hal obtains his kingly bearing and, ultimately,...more
Ken Moten
"Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown." - King Henry IV (Act III scene 1)

"It is certain that either wise bearing or ignorant carriage is
caught, as men take diseases, one of another: therefore let men take
heed of their company.
" Sir John Falstaff (Act V scene 1)

Following from part 1 I can say that I liked the play. But, I only like this play because it brings resolution to the story. That is really what this play is, for wrapping up the saga of Henry Bolingbroke, Sr and setting up the back...more
David Sarkies
May 15, 2013 David Sarkies rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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 the nature of political revolt, that I c...more
Elegiac, frustrating, and moving in just the same way a late installment of serial fiction can be today. For me the tavern scenes, especially Falstaff's bittersweet tete-a-tete with Doll Tearsheet, were particularly unsettling, as they labor to make the end of the road funny - and often succeed! Falstaff is of course more emphatically a tragic figure here, but he's also more surprisingly a crueler one, his charm now inadequate to conceal his darker - and as always ginormous - underbelly. He trie...more
“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown”

The second part of Henry IV and the third in the tetralogy starts with a prologue in the guise of ‘Rumour’ serving to outline the final action of the previous play. This Greek style introduction is used at the outset of the act before a final epilogue connects to the final play, Henry V. The ailing king( speculated as everything form leprosy to epilepsy) is again troubled by insurrection despite victory at Shrewsbury, whilst Hal is distanced but not separ...more
(Henry IV, Parts I and II) I could not help but notice the way in which the two worlds of the play – the politics of court and country, the debauchery of hostel and highway – never quite seem to come together as a whole. Prince Hal presumably carries this disparity in his heart, yet the audience also yearns for some dramatic mending that the rejection of Falstaff, although entirely plausible, never delivers. Of course, some of this allows for the cliffhanger ending, which forecasts the new king’...more
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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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