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  • Writer's pictureMackenzie Elisa

King Henry IV, Part 2

Setting: 1403-1413 AD

London, UK


My really abridged plot summary: England is in Civil War (it's the Wars of the Roses people!) and King Henry IV is ill. Prince Hal is still a scoundrel. Falstaff is now an army captain and the majority of the action of this pay is him drinking and recruiting soldiers (I'm not kidding). Prince Hal is trying to be better and separate himself from the bad influences in his life (Falstaff). Northumberland denies the rebels the use of his troops, again. Prince John makes a deal with the rebels, but then goes back on his word and executes them. King Henry's condition is getting worse and Prince Hal finally goes to him. Hal takes the crown off his father's bed, thinking he's dead but he's just sleeping. The King awakes and hands Hal his metaphorical butt. Hal then delivers a very powerful speech and vows to be a worthy king. King Henry passes after forgiving his son. Prince Hal is now King Henry V. Falstaff goes to greet the new king, but Henry rejects him in the middle of the street. The King then sets off to court to begin plans for an invasion in France.


A montage of Falstaff being an absolute menace.

My favorite quote:

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. ~King Henry IV, III.i

A man can die but once: we owe a death. ~Feeble, III.ii


  • Overall Impression: 7- There was a sense of self-awareness in this play, mainly supported by the prologue and epilogue. It made for an interesting read.

  • Use of Language: 7- Falstaff and his buddies are very witty.

  • Protagonist Arc: 7- This one scores higher than part 1 because we see Hal have a true arc with the rejection of Falstaff once he take the throne. He recognizes that in order to be the man and king his father and country need him to be, that he needs to purge his life of Falstaff's shenanigans. However, I'm only giving it a 7 because he wasn't really wasn't in this play, like it's not "his play" from a stage-time perspective.

  • Female Characters: 6- Mistress Quickly and Doll Tearsheet are icons, but aren't making any major moves.

  • Fits Genre: 6- Same as with part 1, this was a very dialogue-heavy comedy, with a little bit of historic action mixed in. *BUT there's an incredibly touching scene later- see emotional impact!

  • Overall Enjoyment: 7 was very perplexed/confused by all of these crazy characters- but they were all highly entertaining.

  • Hype Worthy: 7- I'm never going to deny that Falstaff doesn't make for a great time. You simply cannot dislike him, he is the quintessential Shakespearean comedian. We also live for the build to Henry V.

  • Emotional Impact: 7- The beautiful scene between Prince Hal and his father was truly beautiful. Great material for dramatic monologues.

Total: 54/80

Average: 6

*3 out of 5 stars*

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