- File Size: 657 KB
- Print Length: 117 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; New edition (February 1, 2000)
- Publication Date: February 1, 2000
- Language: English
- ASIN: B001QIGZ9U
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #936,739 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Henry IV, Part 1 (The Pelican Shakespeare) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Surprisingly, Hal, Prince of Wales, (later Henry V) was not even mentioned in this verbose title although many would consider him to be the central character. This play is clearly the dramatization of a struggle for a kingdom, but it is equally the story of Hal's wild and reckless youthful adventures with Falstaff and other disreputable companions.
Shakespeare did not write his plays about English kings in chronological order, but these plays do have a historical unity. It is helpful (but not essential) to read the tetralogy Richard II, Henry IV Part 1 and 2, and Henry V in chronological order. Whatever route you take, I highly recommend buying a companion copy of Peter Saccio's "Shakespeare's English Kings", an engaging look at how Shakespeare revised history to achieve dramatic effect.
A wide selection of Henry IV editions are available, including older editions in used bookstores. I am familiar with a few and have personal favorites:
The New Folger Library Shakespeare is my first choice among the inexpensive editions of Henry IV. "New" replaces the prior version in use for 35 years. It uses "facing page" format with scene summaries, explanations for rare and archaic words and expressions, and Elizabethan drawings located on the left page; the Henry IV text is on the right. I particularly liked the section on "Reading Shakespeare's Language in Henry IV" and Alexander Legget's literary analysis (save this until you have read the play).Read more ›
As a matter of fact, it isn't unusual for Shakespeare's "histories" to be more interesting to the modern reader than either his comedies or his tragedies; they fit the modern style that doesn't insist that comedies must have everything work out well in the end, or that tragedies must be deadly serious with everyone dying at the end, as was the convention in Shakespeare's time. Thus, this book has a serious plot, real drama, and blood and destruction, yet still has many extremely funny scenes. And as Shakespearean plays go, it's a fairly easy read, although in places the footnotes are still neccessary. The only caveat I will make is that one needs to remember not to consider Shakespeare's histories particularly historical; they have about as much historical accuracy as the Disney version of Pocahontas. Treat them as excellent stories based (very) loosely on history, and you'll do fine.
It's a real shame that the language has changed so much since Shakespeare was writing that his plays are no longer accessable to the masses, because that's who Shakespeare was writing for. Granted, there is enough seriousness to satisfy the intelligensia, but there is generally enough action and bawdy humor to satisfy any connouiseur of modern hit movies, if only they could understand it, and this book is no exception. Unfortunately, once you change the language, it's no longer Shakespeare, until and unless the rewriter can be found who has as much genius for the modern language as Shakespeare had for his own. I don't think I'll hold my breath waiting.
Aside from these larger concerns that frame the play, "Henry IV Part I" deals more with Prince Henry than it does with the monarch of the title. Throughout the play, Prince Henry is seen more amongst the rabble commoners than attending to matters of state. He is guided in his licentiousness by the enormously funny (pun intended) Sir John Falstaff, whose schemes and drunkenness are more innocent and endearing in Part I than they become in Part II.
Falstaff's reckless and conceited behaviour casts a shadow over the entire play, symbolic as it is of Prince Henry's moral dilemma and of the precarious state of the nation. Falstaff instantly calls to mind Kenneth Grahame's magnificent Mr. Toad from "The Wind in the Willows," and is Toad's direct literary forefather. Falstaff is the most interesting and dynamic figure in "Henry IV Part I" and certainly the most memorable character in the play.
Prince Henry discovers that his responsibilities outweigh his fondness for Spanish wine, and is called to lead the King's army against that of the arrogant 'Hotspur' Percy, himself a rising political force.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I recently saw King Richard II on television and decided to read or watch or listen to the other Shakespeare plays. This one was my next play. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Kristi Richardson
This is not a criticism of the actual work of William Shakespeare, but a commentary on the production. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Brian M
David Bevington begins his Oxford edition of "Henry IV, Part 1" with a startling military metaphor: Stanley Wells, Gary Taylor, and John Jowett "have done battle [with... Read morePublished 4 months ago by HH
What is the leading role in this play? Who is the hero? A case might be made for Henry Percy, otherwise known as Hotspur, who is an impassioned but principled rebel against the... Read morePublished 4 months ago by R. M. Peterson
“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... Read morePublished 5 months ago by B. Wilfong
Wonderful. Falstaff is one of Shakespeare's greatest characters. Hal is an interesting study. Other colorful characters, too. This is a good edition for teaching. Read morePublished 10 months ago by N. K. Whitlow