Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Henry IV, Part 2” as Want to Read:
Henry IV, Part 2
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book* *Different edition

Henry IV, Part 2 (Wars of the Roses #3)

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  10,413 Ratings  ·  318 Reviews
"I feel that I have spent half my career with one or another Pelican Shakespeare in my back pocket. Convenience, however, is the least important aspect of the new Pelican Shakespeare series. Here is an elegant and clear text for either the study or the rehearsal room, notes where you need them and the distinguished scholarship of the general editors, Stephen Orgel and A. R ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published February 1st 2000 by Penguin Classics (first published 1590)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Henry IV, Part 2, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Henry IV, Part 2

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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
Shelves: non-fiction, history
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
Sep 03, 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
Jun 20, 2015 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
Mar 02, 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!
Roy Lotz
May 10, 2015 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
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
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
Sarah Anne
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
Jul 05, 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
Apr 09, 2016 Brian rated it really liked it
“Henry IV Part II” should be read right after reading “Henry IV Part I” as the two plays together give the reader a great portrait of humanity and its ever changing adjustments to the wheels of fate and circumstance. They flow together seamlessly. This play continues the journey of Prince Hal as he becomes Henry V, and I think is a more satisfying play than its predecessor. The giant figure in these two plays, Sir John Falstaff, was much more pleasing and intriguing to me here then he was in “He ...more
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
Oct 21, 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
Mar 23, 2011 Marty 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
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: fiction, calibre
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
Michael Arnold
I can see why this is the lesser part of the Henriad. It's just not as well structured as Part 1, and as such it only really exists as a bridge between that and Henry V. It's just ... not a great play, frankly.
Dec 14, 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
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.
Aug 29, 2015 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
One of the least interesting of his plays I have read.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Alternate book cover 3 12 Aug 05, 2014 01:14AM  
Happy or sad ending? 2 16 Jul 14, 2012 11:03AM  
  • The Fall of the Athenian Empire
  • The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion
  • Chamber Music
  • My Life As Author And Editor
  • Brigadoon (Vocal Score)
  • Moliere: A Biography
  • A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays
  • Goldilocks & Three Bears: Bears Should Share!
  • Edward II
  • My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and Its Aftermath
  • The Art of Fiction
  • New Poems of Emily Dickinson
  • The Spanish Tragedy
  • Gidget (Gidget series, #1)
  • Novels, 1930-1942: Dance Night / Come Back to Sorrento / Turn, Magic Wheel / Angels on Toast / A Time to Be Born
  • Volpone
  • Euripides III: Hecuba/Andromache/The Trojan Women/Ion (Complete Greek Tragedies, #7)
  • The Annotated Milton: Complete English Poems
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
More about William Shakespeare...

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

Share This Book

“Presume not that I am the thing I was.” 913 likes
“O sleep, O gentle sleep, Nature's soft nurse, how have I frightened thee, 1710. That thou no more will weigh my eyelids down, And steep my senses in forgetfulness?” 204 likes
More quotes…