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The First Part of King Henry IV
by William Shakespeare
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"The Weils's New Cambridge ^1 Henry IV takes a skillful route...making judicious choices at every level, from its nicely gauged textual commentary to its full account of the play's scholarly, critical, and theatrical histories. Clearly written with nonspecialists in mind, it should prove especially exciting for that audience, but there is much for the specialist reader as well." Shakespeare Quarterly
This edition offers a strongly theatrical perspective on the origins of The First Part of King Henry IV and the history of its interpretation. In their introduction the editors clarify the play's surprising, decentralized dramatic structure, questioning the recent assumption that the drama focuses on the education of Prince Hal. They call attention to the effects of civil war on a broad range of relationships. Falstaff's unpredictable vitality is explored, together with important contemporary values of honor, friendship, festivity and reformation.
Card catalog description
Includes a brief biography of the author, thematic and structural analysis of the work, critical views, and an index of themes and ideas.
From the Publisher
A play alive with escapades and action, comedy and history, Henry IV, Part One begins the transformation of the madcap Prince Hal into the splendid ruler King Henry. In it a rebellion against King and State is juxtaposed with another rebellion--the riotous misbehavior of Hal and his companions, principally Falstaff. A superbly funny liar, coward, lecher, and cheat, the larger-than-life character Falstaff turns this great historical drama into a masterpiece of counterpoint and design.
From the Inside Flap
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.
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