Play ends with King Henry and Prince Hal departing side-by- side to battle Glendower and Mortimer. Synopsis of Henry IV, Part 1. Orson Welles as Falstaff. Henry IV, Part 1, chronicle play in five acts by William Shakespeare, written about –97 and published from a reliable authorial draft in a quarto edition. Plot summary of and introduction to William Shakespeare's play Henry IV, Part 1, with links to online texts, digital images, and other resources.


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There is only an 8-page fragment of a single copy of its first printing Q0, now held at and digitized by the Folgeralthough complete copies of an edition printed later the same year Q1 survive. Q1 is the basis for the five henry iv part 1 that follow—this was a very popular play.

However, some of the most notable characters and comedic moments in the play are entirely Shakespeare's invention. For audiences, the most memorable moments in the play often surround Falstaff, Shakespeare's original character, and the wild tavern scenes, which are among the most beloved and written about issues in literary history.

Shakespeare wrote the play during the latter part of Queen Elizabeth I 's reign and many of its themes and concerns resonate with late sixteenth century political events, particularly the Irish rebellion led by the Earl of TyroneEngland's ongoing war with Spainand the Northern Rebellion Shakespeare's portrayal of the problem of kingly succession also echoes a major concern in Elizabethan England.

At the time the play was written, Queen Elizabeth I was in her 60s and had no heir to inherit the throne.

Henry IV, Part 1

Falstaff enacts the part of the king. The battle is crucial because if the rebels even achieve a standoff their cause gains greatly, as they have other powers awaiting under Henry iv part 1, Glendower, Mortimer, and the Archbishop of York. Henry needs a decisive victory here.

Henry iv part 1 outnumbers the rebels, [4] but Hotspur, with the wild hope of despair, leads his troops into battle. The day wears on, the issue still in doubt, the king harried by the wild Scot Douglas, when Prince Hal and Hotspur, the two Harrys that cannot share one land, meet.

Henry IV Part 1

Finally they will fight — for glory, for their lives, and for the kingdom. No longer a tavern brawler but a warrior, the future king prevails, ultimately killing Hotspur in single combat.

On the way to this climax, we are treated to Falstaff, who has "misused the King's press damnably", [5] not only by taking money from able-bodied men who wished to evade service but by henry iv part 1 the wages of the poor souls he brought instead who were killed in battle "food for powder, food for powder".

After Hal leaves Hotspur's body on the field, Falstaff revives in a mock miracle. Seeing he is alone, he stabs Hotspur's henry iv part 1 in the thigh and claims credit for the kill.

Soon after being given grace by Hal, Falstaff states that he wants to amend his life and begin "to live cleanly as a nobleman should do". The play ends at Shrewsbury, after the battle.


The death of Hotspur has taken the heart out of the rebels, [9] and the king's forces prevail. I know this focus is almost certainly the focus of the original source material but I found it hard to escape the feeling that too much time was spent with these characters and their banter in the pub.

In the background we have the King battling those men who helped him in his rise to power and I was much more interested in this, so time spent with Hal seems like time wasted.

This relationship does help add some comedy and humanity to the telling though and in a way it did help henry iv part 1 film in ways that I found weak in this version of Richard II. Henry iv part 1 laments that his own son is not like the fearless Hotspur.

Hal, who admits in an aside that he is consorting with these thieving rogues only temporarily, nevertheless agrees to take part with them in an actual highway robbery.