- Series: Shakespeare Made Easy
- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Barron's Educational Series; 1st U.S. edition (April 1, 1985)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0812035852
- ISBN-13: 978-0812035858
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 99 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #593,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Henry IV, Part 1 (Shakespeare Made Easy) 1st U.S. Edition
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Henry IV Part I is personally my favorite of his plays and I take the typical stance of being a Falstaff sympathizer (expedited by Roger Allam's portrayal at Shakespeare's Globe and Orson Welles' in Chimes at Midnight), but enjoy all the characters and their interactions.
Folger Shakespeare Library has been an excellent resource for me, as I came to these plays with absolutely no knowledge of Shakespeare whatsoever. There are word translations on one side of the page and text summaries for each act, and the occasional illustration. Can't ask for more for $6, 5 stars.
Even Falstaff has been affected. He's no longer as funny. Writes McEachern: "The vitality, energetic wordplay, and improvisational mockery of power that endeared him to us earlier have dwindled to a few stale jokes about his girth." It is Prince Hal who has changed the most, having shown himself in battle as a fierce warrior and an effective leader. He no longer has time to banter with Falstaff in an Eastcheap saloon, but is fully prepared to assume leadership of the English people--too ready. In one memorable scene, thinking his father has died, he tries on the crown only to be severely reprimanded by his father who is in fact still alive. At the play's conclusion, with his father buried and Hal now Henry V, king of England, he refuses to recognize his old friend in public, Sir John Falstaff. "I know thee not, old man," he says. It's one of the key moments in the play. Says McEachern: "The rejection of Falstaff by Henry V may be the most painful moment in Shakespeare."
McEachern has more to say about Henry IV, Part 2, which makes The Pelican Shakespeare edition worthwhile. The play isn't bad either. Which begs the question: why spend 10-hours reading today's novelists who are here today and gone tomorrow, when you can read one of immortal Shakespeare's plays in 90 minutes? It's food for the brain, not candy.
Story: NA. It is Shakespeare. However, it has a great deal of comedy for a historical play.
Production: As always, with Archangel, it is excellent. It has one flaw. They do not signal the end of the disk. I do not know why when many other CD books do.
If you only know Shakespeare by the fact that he existed and was a play writer and you decide that you want to read one of his history plays and the history play that you pick happens to be King Henry IV part one then just reading the text alone will be extremely confusing. Barbara Hodgdon has done an amazing job editing this play and her notes are extremely helpful besides her explication of this play there are historical graphics and historical maps that will help you when reading or seeing the works of Shakespeare. This book is more than a college textbook, it is enjoyable historical reading. Craig Barr.