Henry IV, Part II (Paperback)
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"Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown," laments the sleepless king of Henry IV, Part II. Despite having quelled a rebel army along the Welsh border in Part I, Henry IV faces further insurrections elsewhere in England. His woes are compounded by disturbing reminders of his own mortality as well as the wayward behavior of Prince Hal. The heir to the throne acquitted himself admirably in the battles against the Welsh rebels, but has returned to his old haunts in Eastcheap, where he carouses nightly at the Boar's Head Tavern with the notorious reprobate, Sir John Falstaff.
Renowned Shakespeare critic G. B. Harrison pronounced Falstaff "the supreme comic character in all drama . . . who redeems his vices by his incomparable wit and his skill at escaping from every tight corner." The fat knight's humorous quips and antics are balanced by the play's thought-provoking reflections on ambition, guilt, leadership, and responsibility. Rich in sparkling wordplay and historical drama, this tale sets the stage for Henry V.
About the Author
"He was not of an age, but for all time," declared Ben Jonson of his contemporary William Shakespeare (1564-1616). Jonson's praise is especially prescient, since at the turn of the 17th century Shakespeare was but one of many popular London playwrights and none of his dramas were printed in his lifetime. The reason so many of his works survive is because two of his actor friends, with the assistance of Jonson, assembled and published the First Folio edition of 1623.