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Henry IV, part 1 (Wars of the Roses #2)

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  16,291 Ratings  ·  565 Reviews
Oxford School Shakespeare is an acclaimed edition especially designed for students, with accessible on-page notes and explanatory illustrations, clear background information, and rigorous but accessible scholarly credentials. In this edition of Henry IV Part 1, illustrations have been extended and updated; the preliminary notes have been expanded; reading lists have been u ...more
Paperback, 268 pages
Published April 1st 1965 by Signet Classics (first published 1597)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Bill  Kerwin

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 automat
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, rogu ...more
Dave Cullen
Apr 29, 2015 Dave Cullen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 29, 2014 Becky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, theater
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 kni ...more
David Sarkies
Jun 17, 2015 David Sarkies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
A prince gone wild
22 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
Ahmad Sharabiani
King Henry IV, Part 1 (Wars of the Roses, #2), William Shakespeare
عنوان: 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 م
Mar 01, 2016 Liam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Ken Moten
"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 enc
Jun 18, 2015 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
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 ...more
Jul 11, 2012 Nurul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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)
Jun 24, 2011 Trevor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, literature
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 so
"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.
Perry Whitford
Jul 23, 2015 Perry Whitford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 soil
Shall daub her lips from her own children's blood;
No more shall trenching war channel her fields,
Nor bruise her flowrets with the armed hoofs
Of hostile paces.'

Oh, if only it were that easy! Immediately Henry finds himself a monarch at war as a
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, Hen
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 bega
I could write something very eloquent about this play and its views on warfare, but since I'm feeling a bit lazy, I'll just sum up my thoughts on Falstaff for you: Fuck's sake. What a cock.

(I swear I have a degree in this.)
Sep 16, 2014 Matthew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Henry IV Part 1 continues the saga started by Richard II. While it is not exactly clear how far Shakespeare intended this to be a history cycle, there is some evidence for suggesting that he did. The play contains many allusions to events in the earlier play as well as picking up certain threads left over from it.

However, there is a large difference of tone here. True there is much that is majestic and tragic in Shakespeare's approach. However, whereas Richard II is written entirely in verse, He
May 10, 2015 Lotz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
This is the first of Shakespeare’s histories that I’ve read, and it was great. For some reason, I suspected that Shakespeare’s histories would be inferior to his comedies and tragedies. Maybe it’s because they’re much less talked about. But this play is the equal of many of its better-known brethren. Falstaff is one of Shakespeare’s greatest comedic creations, and Hotspur one of his most compelling antagonists. But what’s most impressive about this play is how fantastically alive it is. War, lov ...more
Mar 11, 2012 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This could have been called Henry V: The Prequel. The life of Henry IV is secondary to the development of Prince Hal from over-privileged rich kid to heir apparent. Hal’s unprincipled father figure, Sir John Falstaff, is well known to be one of Shakespeare’s most engaging characters. Without shame, he lies, steals and drinks. When caught, he adroitly changes topics (or lies) and never pauses to worry about the consequences. Witnessing the development of the carousing Hal into Prince Henry can ha ...more
Andrea Lakly
Aug 03, 2011 Andrea Lakly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I saw this performed by the company that performs at the Globe Theater in London. The performance was taped and the played back in movie theaters across the US. The first act is slow, but the end is very moving. Prince Hal (Jamie Parker) comes in to his own and accepts responsibility for the kingdom. Harry Percy(Sam Crane) is one of the beautiful people, and I cried tears of bloom when I realized he was going to die. Roger Allam played Falstaff in the production I watched, and he was AMAZING -- ...more
King Henry's frustration with his son Harry is easily understood, while I don't quite buy Harry's reasons for his bad behavior. Falstaff's lightheartedness & justifications make him one of my favorite Shakespeare characters.

Favorite quotes:
"I would to God thou and I knew where a commodity of good names were to be bought."

"Company, villanous company, hath been the spoil of me."

"I would be well content to entertain the lag-end of my life with quiet hours."

Rebellion lay in his way, and he found
John Pistelli
Jun 25, 2015 John Pistelli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, early-modern
In the excerpt from The Plays of William Shakespeare collected in this volume, Dr. Johnson asserts that, "None of Shakespeare's plays are more read than the First and Second Parts of Henry the Fourth. Perhaps no author has ever in two plays afforded so much delight." In this first part, which follows Richard II, the new king is threatened with rebellion and usurpation in an echo of his own deposition of his predecessor. His main antagonist is the young Henry Percy, a formidable soldier nicknamed ...more
May 21, 2015 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, shakespeare
Every time I think I'm in danger of absolutely running out of things to say about the plays, I hit one that introduces something major. This one introduces Falstaff, Shakespeare's profound and melancholy buffoon. In addition, it has the rivalry between Prince Hal and Hotspur, and lastly and perhaps least interestingly, the ostensible main action, an uprising against Henry IV. The revolving and ritualistic power struggles that appear in all of these chronicle plays are the reason I've never made ...more
Feb 27, 2016 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Henry IV Part 1” is a play usually highly praised because of Shakespeare’s creation of Falstaff. This is an okay history play of the Bard’s, and Falstaff is certainly a dominate part of the text, but I am not as in love with Falstaff as many readers are.
In the Pelican edition of the play Claire McEachern writes an Introduction that focuses mainly on the character of Prince Hal (who will become Henry V) This, along with some other key insights offered in the Intro will aid your reading of the pl
In preparation for the Utah Shakespeare Fesitval, I read this play in conjunction with watching the PBS series The Hollow Crown. (My arguments for reading the play versus seeing the play and having it count as having read the work can be found here and are also tied up here.)

Dear William,

Your words are like melted butter on warm toast (wheat for me, please). They are rich and creamy; running over in drippy, oily sweetness; nourishing and incredibly comforting even when liberally spread. A nib
Apr 22, 2015 Cemre rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kral IV. Henry'nin ilk bölümünü oluşturan kitap, Wars of the Roses serisinin ikinci kitabı. Hikâye, II. Richard'ı tahttan indirip yerine geçen Bolingbroke'u yani nam-ı diğer Kral IV. Henry'inin tahta çıktıktan sonraki sürecini işliyor. Shakespeare bu seri ile hem Wars of the Roses döneminin İngiltere'sini başarılı bir dille anlatıyor hem de iktidar kavramını, iktidarın kaynağını, iktidara geldikten sonraki baştakilerin değişimlerini güzelce anlatıyor. Oyunun hikâyesi genel olarak tahtta çıktıkta ...more
Mar 24, 2014 Daria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theatre
I thought this was going to be a slog, being a history play and all, and, to my great surprise, found myself really, really enjoying it. There's something different about this history - it feels fresher, somehow. It's all the good that is Shakespeare, but in a different tone, through a different lens. Ought I use the term "real"? Or maybe, "less angsty" than those works of the traditional school-taught Shakespeare canon?

The melange of comedy and tragedy is subtler here, than, say, in Romeo and
Sep 24, 2015 Lexi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I honestly do not even entirely know how I feel about this play. I'd never read one of Shakespeare's history plays before, and I found it much harder to follow than the comedies or the tragedies. A lot of the plot points seemed to just come up out of nowhere, but that might just be due to the fact that I'm not well versed in the history of this period and that I haven't read the preceding play, Richard II. Pretty much all of the characters were male, and a lot of them had very similar names, so ...more
Andrew LaBelle
Kids be like: "Shakespeare's histories all suck." And I just say: "Not all of them."

So it wasn't great. But it was rife with puns (sexy or otherwise), which is always a plus. And I enjoyed Prince Harry as a coming-of-age character, as well as Hotspur's being put in the ground. Lord! did he never stop talking. And it was like, two paralleled stories about thievery going on at the same time, which was like really cool.

"Honour pricks me on. Yea, but how if Honour prick me off when I come on? how t
Mar 13, 2014 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Doesn't really get any better than this. I think this is the one history that bears comparison to the great tragedies. As I write this, I'm wondering where I belong in the Henry IV one play/two play dispute. Major play and minor sequel, or unified dramatic whole? I've read both plays before and I've seen them performed both separately and as a single narrative. Part One is a much tighter construction, with complementary characters and incidents that Shakespeare uses systematically to explore big ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Alternate book cover 7 16 Aug 04, 2014 01:25PM  
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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
  • Henry IV, Part 2 (Wars of the Roses, #3)
  • Henry V
  • Henry VI, Part 1
  • King Henry VI, Part 2
  • King Henry VI, Part 3
  • Richard III

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“[Thou] mad mustachio purple-hued maltworms!” 187 likes
“I know you all, and will awhile uphold
The unyoked humour 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 vapours 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 behaviour I throw off
And pay the debt I never promisèd,
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 more goodly and attract more eyes
Than that which hath no foil to set it off.
I’ll so offend to make offence a skill,
Redeeming time when men think least I will.”
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