Henry IV, Part Two
Publication Date: January 1988
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The stirring continuation of the themes begun in Henry IV, Part One again pits a rebellion within the State and that master of misrule, Falstaff, against the maturing of Prince Hal. Alternating scenes between bawdy tavern and regal court, between revelry and politics, Shakespeare probes at the sources, uses, and responsibilities of power as an old king dies and a young king must choose between a ruler's solemn duty and a merry but dissipated friend, Falstaff. The play represents Shakespeare at the peak of his maturity in writing historical drama and comedy.
David Bevington is Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago. His recent publications include "Shakespeare: The Seven Ages of Human Experience" (second edition, 2005) and "Shakespeare: Script, Stage, Screen" (with Anne Marie Welsh and Michael L. Greenwald, 2006). He has also edited the Bantam Shakespeare in 29 volumes (currently being reedited), "The Complete Works of Shakespeare" (fifth edition, 2003), and a number of individual Shakespeare plays including "Antony and Cleopatra," "Henry IV, Part I," and "Troilus and Cressida,"