Why War with France?

Since the primary focus of Henry V is his campaigns in France, I thought it would be helpful to review exactly why he wants to bother with conquering France in the first place (besides, you know, glory). Henry V decides to restart the war started by his grandfather, Edward III, known as the Hundred Years … Continue reading Why War with France?

From Confusion to Rage

Why Are the History Plays So Hard?! There is little doubt that the Henriad is much better than the Henry VI plays. There’s little doubt that pretty much all of the history plays are better than the Henry Vi plays. Despite being well-written and largely entertaining, they can still be quite difficult to work through. … Continue reading From Confusion to Rage

2 Henry IV Part 2

Act II, Scene 4 Two servants prepare the dining room for Sir John and the others. First, they discuss whether or not they should serve apple-johns since one time Prince Hal used them to insult the knight. They decide to cover them up. They need music and to bring down the temperature of the room. … Continue reading 2 Henry IV Part 2

2 Henry IV Part 1

Induction Rumor begins the play by explaining how it spreads the seeds of deceit across the world. Rumor spreads word of peace while discord spreads in secret. Rumor remarks on how easy it is to get anyone to believe the stories it tells. Then, Rumor explains why it is here in England. He is spreading … Continue reading 2 Henry IV Part 1

Reflecting on the Past of Henry IV

One of the major focuses of 2 Henry IV is reflecting on the past and dealing with the consequences. We see much more of the older characters as power shifts from one generation to the next, so it is helpful to get a refresher on what transpired up until this point. It all started with … Continue reading Reflecting on the Past of Henry IV

Decontructing the Tudor Myth

By usurping Richard III in 1485, Henry Tudor (now Henry VII) brought about the end of the Wars of the Roses, decades of turmoil for the English people. The Tudor Dynasty meant a long period of peace and prosperity for England...at least that is what they wanted us to believe. Unfortunately for the Tudors, Henry’s … Continue reading Decontructing the Tudor Myth

1 Henry IV Part 3

Act IV, Scene 1 Hotspur showers Douglas with compliments, which he graciously accepts. Just then, a messenger comes in bearing the unfortunate news that Hotspur’s father, Northumberland has taken ill and won’t be able to bring his army to meet them. They worry that this will dampen the spirits of their men and look like … Continue reading 1 Henry IV Part 3

1 Henry IV Part 2

Act II, Scene 4 Prince Hal has recently returned from a night of drinking with some random men. He argues that this will be good for him because, as King, he will be able to talk with anyone in his kingdom. He thanks Poins for joining him in tricking Falstaff and plans to kill the … Continue reading 1 Henry IV Part 2

1 Henry IV Part One

Act I, Scene 1 King Henry IV reflects on the positive direction of the kingdom. Following the turmoil of Richard II’s reign, which ended in his usurpation, the country is at peace. Neighbor no longer fights neighbor and they can all get behind the cause of driving those darn pagans from their Christian lands. Unfortunately, … Continue reading 1 Henry IV Part One

Introduction to Henry IV, Part 1

It will surprise no one to know that Shakespeare took a fair amount of creative liberty when presenting the history of Henry IV's reign. He did this in part to create a more compelling story and in part to satisfy the Tudor propaganda that was extremely relevant to his ability to produce plays. First, he … Continue reading Introduction to Henry IV, Part 1