Henry IV Part 1: by Shakespeare - Summary

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      Henry IV Part I, King A history play in two parts by William Shakespeare. The shaping of the plot, drawn largely from Holinshed’s Chronicles, permits the conclusion that Shakespeare had the second part of this history play in mind when he prepared the first. Even so, the two parts are distinct, and it is quite orthodox to perform them separately.

      Part One Probably first published in Quarto in 1598. Modern editors collate this text with that in the First Folio of 1623. The historical events described in the play begin with the uprising of Owen Glendower and the defeat of the invading Scots by Henry Percy (Hotspur) and culminate in the defeat and death of Hotspur at the Battle of Shrewsbury (1403). The decisive usurper, Bolingbroke of Richard II, has been transformed into a careworn king, thwarted in his desire to expiate his crime by leading a crusade by the threat of civil war. Henry IV is further troubled by his son’s waywardness. Prince Hal beguiles the time in the company of the fat knight. Sir John Falstaff, drinking in taverns and plotting practical jokes. By comparison, Hotspur seems all the more a hero. But when Hotspur, angered by the King’s refusal to ransom his brother-in-law Mortimer, joins forces with Glendower, it is Prince Hal who saves the day at Shrewsbury, fighting gallantly in defense of his father and killing Hotspur in single combat - a death for which Falstaff claims the credit.

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