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November Books 30) Henry IV Part 2

30) The Second Part of King Henry the Fourth, by William Shakespeare

I seem to have lost a bit of pace with my Shakespeare project - this is only my third one this month, and I'm not rushing to tick off Henry V this weekend. But at least progress is in a forward direction - I am 40% of the way through.

It's a curious play, with a lot of good scenes (and some very famous quotes) which are not tied together particularly well. The plot is essentially the hubris and fall of Falstaff, against a background of high politics where King Henry IV dies and passes on not just the office but the role of kingship to his son Henry V. Falstaff's story is much more interesting than the warring aristocrats, and the young prince Henry seems much less in the action than in the previous play, though he gets the killer line "I know you not, old man" in the last scene. Henry IV himself does get some good lines, especially in his dying scenes, but we had a lot of faffing around with rebellious Archbishops and Welshmen before we got there.

Richard Griffiths as Falstaff and Julian Glover as Henry IV carry the Arkangel production. Jamie Glover as Prince Hal has a disastrous concept of blank verse, and perhaps I would have liked the play more with a different actor in that role. Ex-Catweazle (and alternate Doctor) Geoffrey Bayldon is good as Shallow.

Henry VI, Part I | Henry VI, Part II | Henry VI, Part III | Richard III | Comedy of Errors | Titus Andronicus | Taming of the Shrew | Two Gentlemen of Verona | Love's Labour's Lost | Romeo and Juliet | Richard II | A Midsummer Night's Dream | King John | The Merchant of Venice | Henry IV, Part I | Henry IV, Part II | Henry V | Julius Caesar | Much Ado About Nothing | As You Like It | Merry Wives of Windsor | Hamlet | Twelfth Night | Troilus and Cressida | All's Well That Ends Well | Measure for Measure | Othello | King Lear | Macbeth | Antony and Cleopatra | Coriolanus | Timon of Athens | Pericles | Cymbeline | The Winter's Tale | The Tempest | Henry VIII | The Two Noble Kinsmen | Edward III | Sir Thomas More (fragment)


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Nov. 28th, 2008 11:54 pm (UTC)
Goodness that takes me back. Henry IV part 2 was one of the texts I had to study for A level English - the odd thing is that we were never advised to read part 1 we just dove in at the beginning of part 2 with little or no idea of the 'prequel'. I must admit I didn't pay a great deal of attention to this play, as our other Shakespeare was Hamlet and that is enough to keep anyone fully occupied for at least two years :-)
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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