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Henry IV, Part 1

(Wars of the Roses #2)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  21,466 ratings  ·  863 reviews
This edition of Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1 uses a variety of approaches to Shakespeare, including historical and cultural studies approaches. Shakespeare's text is accompanied by an intriguing collection of thematically arranged historical and cultural documents and illustrations designed to give a firsthand knowledge of the contexts out of which Henry IV, Part 1 emerg ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published March 30th 1957 by Penguin Classics (first published 1597)
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3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  21,466 ratings  ·  863 reviews

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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
Aishu Rehman
I really do not like Shakespeare. I find him rather vulgar and his humor is not the kind that good jokes should be made of. John Falstaff, in this play, was a fun and ridiculous character. He was, perhaps, meant to portray all the people who make themselves seem better than they really are, which I think Shakespeare did cleverly.

So I guess if you like Shakespeare, you might as well check this one out. It's a quick read with funny characters.
Ahmad Sharabiani
King Henry IV, Part 1 (Wars of the Roses, #2), William Shakespeare
Henry IV, Part 1 is a history play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written no later than 1597. It is the second play in Shakespeare's tetralogy dealing with the successive reigns of Richard II, Henry IV (two plays, including Henry IV, Part 2), and Henry V. Henry IV, Part 1 depicts a span of history that begins with Hotspur's battle at Homildon in Northumberland against Douglas late in 1402 and ends with the defeat of
Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
How hard it must be to fight an enemy you admire; how hard it must be to realise your enemy is a stronger, and perhaps more worthy, man than your son, and how great it must be to realise that you are such a hypocritical fool, and that your son is more than you ever dreamed. But first, you must lament your heir to your advisors, clearly a great move:

Yea, there thou mak’st me sad and mak’st me sin
In envy that my Lord Northumberland
Should be the father to so blest a son—
A son who is the theme of
J.L.   Sutton
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While William Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1 is a different experience than Richard II, it is a fantastic play! The action picks up shortly after the conclusion of Richard II (after Bolingbroke has deposed the now dead Richard and become King Henry). It still has a serious side, but this play subverts the legitimacy of the monarchy by the ways it uses language. It does this most effectively by its depiction of the heir to the throne, Prince Henry (known as Hal) and his debased and disgraced comp ...more
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, shakespeare, drama
“O, while you live, tell truth, and shame the Devil!”
― William Shakespeare, King Henry IV, Part 1



Yes, I knew who he was. But until this year my exposure to Falstaff was mainly second-hand, through books that spoke of him. I hadn't touched any of Shakespeare's histories (I'm not counting Julius Caesar, etc., as a history) and so was surprised at just how much I liked this character. There are plays where the character and the play are equally matched (Othello, Hamlet, etc), but there ar
Leonard Gaya
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After Richard II, this is the second episode of Shakespeare’s major Histories (the events that will lead up to the Wars of the Roses). This play is not so much about Bolingbroke/Henry IV, as it is the first of a vast trilogy on Prince Hal/Henry V — from Eastcheap to Azincourt. The first part of Henry IV tells the events of the rebellion of the barons, following the lead of young Harry Percy, against the king they initially placed on the throne of England. Simultaneously, it is also a captivating ...more
Still one of my most favorite histories, or at least part one of perhaps three. ;)

Our favorite wastrel, Prince Henry, Hal to his friends, a drunkard, a thief, the bosom buddy of dear fat old Falstaff, hides his bright sun behind vile clouds so as to shine all the brighter when his day finally arrives.

In here, of course, we establish the lout with a sharp mind and careful cunning, dissembling for all to see but careful of the long game. When his his father sore needs his son's aid, Hal comes to
Aug 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The second play about The Wars of the Roses and so massive in history, good ol' Will had to make two parts about this particular king!

Henry IV was Henry Bolingbroke, the one who deposed the old king, Richard II. Since then, he has not had a quiet reign. There are still those who want Richard back (funny, considering how many supported Henry because they were unsatisfied with Richard's way of doing things). How did kings usually solve such a problem? Right, with a crusade, what else?! But he face
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Taught this play many times in the 60's and 70's, when it was often the one Shakespeare play in a college Intro to Lit class: great play, but heavily male. After my study with two prominent women Shakespeareans (separate post-docs at Harvard and Breadloaf) I moved, for the sake of my largely female community college students, to stronger women characters in the comedies and, say, Measure for Measure.
But I still offhandedly quote from 1H4, say "If reasons were as plentiful as blackberries…"Falst
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel kinda lazy today so you won't get a detailed review/analysis from me. I also don't have it in me to go full snark on you, so let me just sum up this wonderful mess of a play: I never thought I would enjoy (like... really enjoy) one of Shakespeare's histories, I'm glad I was wrong because now I feel like nothing will stop me from seeking out his entire work and actually having fun whilst doing that. Henry IV, Part 1 is super accessible even for someone who has absolutely no fucking clue ab ...more
Neil Walker
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It may not be immediately obvious to people, when reading something like Drug Gang, but William Shakespeare has been a major and important influence on my writing. As an author, I have taken on board a lot of lessons from Shakespeare in terms of structure, story and character arcs.

Henry IV, Part 1 has always been my favourite work of Shakespeare. Primarily, this is because of the gradual transformation that Prince Hal goes through. Also, Falstaff is an amazing character, providing plenty of comi
Apr 21, 2014 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
Dec 05, 2012 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
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
Honestly I was a little worried Shakespeare's historical plays would be boring, but they most certainly are not.
Zachary F.
Glendower: I can call the spirits from the vasty deep.
Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
But will they come when you do call for them?

-act 3, scene 1

Now this is why I read Shakespeare.

So far, working my way through Will's plays chronologically has been about as frustrating as it has been illuminating. A few gems aside ( Romeo and Juliet , A Midsummer Night's Dream , Richard III ), most of the Bard's best and most celebrated work is packed into the second half of his bibliography. With 1
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 22, 2015 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
Cindy Rollins
Having just watched The Hollow Crown, this play was much easier to listen to. The audio alone can be quite confusing, but a familiarity with the play helps. I love this whole cycle of plays. Shakespeare's ability to mix pathos and humor hits its stride in this cycle of plays.

The Arkangel recording is excellent, as expected.
Apr 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
বাঁধাই করানো পেপারবযাক, পরায় ষাইট বছর বয়স, ভূমিকাটা ভালো, গত চারশো বছরের মঞচায়নের ইতিহাস ভেতরে দেয়া থাকলে আরো ভালো লাগতো।

নাটকটা ভালোই বলতে হবে।
ফলসটাফরে অতিমূলযায়ন করা হইছে, এমনটা বলা সমভব, খুবই সমভব, কিনতু কিছু মূলয তারে না দিয়ে যাওয়া যায় না। মূলয দিতে হয় গলেনডাওয়াররেও, মাতর এক দৃশযে ঘুরে গিয়ে সে যা দেখায়। এই নাটকটা শেকসপীয়রের টরাজেডিগুলার চেয়ে অনেক কম নযায়পরবণ বলেই মনে হইলো, চরিতরগুলির পতনের পেছনে কোনো নৈতিক কারণ দেখা গেলো না, হটসপুরের মৃতযু হইতেই হইত এমনটা না, তার জায়গায় হযাল মরলে নাটকের সিকুয়
Daniel Chaikin
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
17. Henry IV, Part 1 by William Shakespeare
editor: Claire McEachern, for The Pelican Shakespeare series
published: originally performed 1591/2. Introduction for The Pelican Shakespeare 2000.
format: 153 page Pelican Shakespeare paperback
acquired: Library
read: Feb 16 – Mar 17
time reading: 7 hr 21 min, 2.9 min/page
rating: 4

The latest in the Shakespeare readalong I'm doing on Litsy, one act per week. Henry IV part 1 is probably most famous for the overweight foil to the crown prince, Falstaff, pure
Feb 28, 2016 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!
Aug 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
Prince Hal keeps surprising me. Now I'm ready to watch Tom Hiddleston amaze me in the role!!
B. P. Rinehart
"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
Roy Lotz
Dec 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reread, shakespeare, plays
Of course, five stars! It's William Shakespeare, after all. I love re-reading the plays just to enjoy the richness of the Bard's language.

Although a history play, King Henry IV, Part 1 is as much a character study of Prince Hal and Falstaff. The eponymous king is more in the background, fighting a rebellion by Hotspur, Douglas, Owen Glendower, and Worcester -- to name just a few. He knows his hold on the crown is tenuous: When he killed Richard II, he made a lot of promises which he had been sl
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, plays
Too much Falstaff and fat-shaming and not enough poetry and Henry IV.
Jun 24, 2011 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
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
Jul 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, farts
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
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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

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
“[Thou] mad mustachio purple-hued maltworms!” 213 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.”
More quotes…