Henry IV Parts 1 & 2
Prince Hal, son of Henry IV, seems to be squandering his life among the whores, boozers and petty rogues of Eastcheap. And the greatest of these rogues is the fat knight, Sir John Falstaff, a liar, glutton, lecher, cheat, braggart, fool and sponger who also possesses wit, warmth, intelligence and a gigantic sense of fun. But beside these scenes of glorious misrule gathers a nationwide rebellion led by the Duke of Northumberland and his charismatic son, Hotspur.
The first instalment of Shakespeare's gripping account of the rise of Hal from idle barfly to monarch-in-waiting combines compelling power politics with the hilarious antics of Falstaff, Shakespeare's greatest comic creation.
Hotspur is dead and Prince Hal has proved his mettle on the battlefield, but Henry IV lies dying and the rebels, though scattered, show no sign of declaring their allegiance to the Crown. Even Falstaff is forced out of the taverns to raise a scratch militia in the country. But will his attachment to the rising Hal be rewarded with promotion and the life of ease he feels sure he deserves?
At least the equal of Part 1, Henry IV Part 2 includes some of the greatest moments in Shakespeare: the deathbed scene of the old King, when Hal contemplates the crown; the reunion of Falstaff with his old boon companion, Justice Shallow; and Hal's devastating rejection of Falstaff himself.