Henry IV, Part 2
This article is about Shakespeare's play. For other uses, see Henry IV, Part 2 (disambiguation).
Henry IV, Part 2 is the only one of William Shakespeare's plays that is a "sequel," in the modern sense, to an earlier play of his. Like most sequels, it repeats many elements from the previous work, Henry IV, Part 1. This play again puts on stage Henry IV's son, Prince Hal, who continues to conceal his potential greatness by consorting with tavern dwellers, including the witty Sir John Falstaff.
As in Part 1, Prince Hal and Falstaff seek to best each other in conversation, while Falstaff tries to ingratiate himself with Hal and Hal disdains him. Part 2 adds some fresh characters, the rural justices Shallow and Silence and Shallow’s household. Political rebellion, while important to the plot, does not loom as large as in Part 1. There are no glorious champions; combat is replaced by deception, cunning, and treachery.
Shakespeare probably wrote Henry IV, Part 2, in 1597 or 1598, not long after he wrote Part 1. It was published in 1600 as a quarto. Among the sources are Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles, an early play, The Famous Victories of Henry V, and other historical works.
Productions at the Folger
- Hamnet link to Folger Edition: PR2753 .M6 2003 copy 2 v.10
In popular culture
Explore the curated image group for Henry IV, Part 2 in the Folger digital image collection.
- Adapted from the Folger Library Shakespeare edition, edited by Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine. © 1999 Folger Shakespeare Library.