Further Reading

Other related Shakespeare plays:

Henry IV, Part II

: the sequel. This is a very different play: more subtle and reflective in its outlook. We see the diminishing powers of a king in age. It is interesting to compare Henry IV’s two parts, but they do not form a unified vision or epic in the sense that Marlowe’s Tamburlaine Parts I and II do. Instead they should be seen as contrasting visions of kingship in youth and age.

Henry V: Hal becomes the king. Hal is near-unrecognisable as Henry V. This is, of course, the point. He has, as he threatened, rejected his youthful ways and yet he is still a man playing a role. Just as the part of king involves acting, so does his return to a humble part as he hides among his troops in disguise. For the study of Henry IV, Part I this is fairly vital reading.

Richard II

: here we see the public / private dilemma of the "King’s Two Bodies" (political/immortal and personal/mortal bodies that is) played out as a tragedy. It is a very different play and more similar to Marlowe’s Richard II than Henry IV, Part I in many respects. However, the same issues are raised and we sense Shakespeare’s preoccupation and a slightly more critical view. Consider his view of Elizabeth I and her reaction to the debasing of the image of the king.

Critical works:

Eagleton, T., "Language: Macbeth, Richard II, Henry IV" (1986)

Paris, B., "Character as a subversive force in Shakespeare" (1991)

Prior, M. E., The Drama of Power: Studies in Shakespeare’s History Plays

Richmond, H. M., Shakespeare’s Political Plays

Knowles, R. The Critics Debate : Henry IV, Parts I & II

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