"During Shakespeare's lifetime, Henry IV was his most popular play. Today, Sir John Falstaff still towers aboe Shakespeare's other comic inventions."

--The quote is from Oxford University Press.

"Two men confront each other. Their swords clash. And, in an instant, the future of a nation is decided. Who are these adversaries? Prince Hal, the royal heir who spends more time in a tavern than at court. His rival Hotspur, the warrior who outshines him in battle and in the king's eyes. They battle for nothing less than England itself. They are caught up in the great drama that is history."

--The quote is from Georgia Shakespeare Festival .



Charles Robert Leslie 1794-1859 
Falstaff Personating the King circa 1851
It is from Tate Collections.

"The label history play is almost a misnomer when used to describe Shakespeare's plays about the English kings, not only because he played fast and loose with the facts but also because the term conjures up in the popular mind the image of a historical documentary. In fact, these plays run the gamut of the human condition in all its sacred and profane, tragic and comic, beautiful and ugly aspects that characterize the comedies, tragedies, or romances. One critic even described Henry I V as "the broadest, the most varied, and in some ways the richest champaign in Shakespeare's extensive empire."

--The quote is from Illinois Shakespeare Festival.

John Gilbert's Sir John Falstaff Reviews His Ragged Regiment
It is from English Department in Missouri Western State College.

"The sweeping spectacle of bloody rebellion, bawdy buffoonery and the young rascal who would be king."

--The quote is from Shakespeare & Compary.


Robert Smirke's Falstaff under Herne's Oak
It is from English Department in Missouri Western State College.
"The Making of a King" by Kim Pereira: an essay about the play.

"Comedy in I Henry IV and II Henry IV" by Robert W. Wilson : A student's essay about the comic elements in the two Henry IV plays.

"Playing History: Shakespeare's 1 Henry IV" by Jeremy Caleb Johnson: An essay that examines Shakespeare's use of history in the play.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) discusses the play in his Characters of Shakespear's Plays (1817).

"Henry IV, 1 & 2: The Education of a Prince" from a work progress by Ben R. Schneider, Jr. 

illiam Q. Orchardson's Prince Henry, Poins, and Falstaff
It is from English Department in Missouri Western State College.


An annotated e-text of the play at The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.

Plot summary from Reviews & Plot Summaries Of Shakespeare's Best Plays by Anthony Wirth.

Study questions about the play from JM. Massi's page.

Shakespeare Company's Falstaff
It is from English Department in Missouri Western State College.

A review of a performance of the play by Justin Shaltz at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival.

A brief discussion of the play and review of the performance done by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

"Reviews of Shakespeare's Best Plays" by Anthony Wirth: A highly opinionated "review" of the play with some topics for debate.