Henry IV, Part II

Type: 
History
First Performed: 
1597-98
First Printed: 
1600
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Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

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Another rebellion against King Henry IV is brewing, this time encouraged by the Earl of Northumberland, who is still mourning the death of his son, Hotspur. The Archbishop of York, Scroop, supports Lords Hastings, Mowbray, and Bardolph. While Northumberland initially joins the rebellion, Lady Grey does dissuade him.

Prince Hal, meanwhile, has returned to the Boar's Head Inn to take up his old ways with Falstaff. But news of the King's illness reaches them, and both Prince Hal and Falstaff are summoned away from their merriment. Falstaff is sent to recruit soldiers for the King's army. Falstaff, not known for his reliability, fails in his charge and in fact accepts bribes from the recruits to release them from their duty. As Hal and his friend fall short, the King's younger son, Prince John, is sent to meet with the rebels. He captures Scroop and executes the rebellious lords.

King Henry IV is now on his deathbed. Before his father's death, a matured Prince Hal seeks to reconcile and assure his father he has changed his ways. Prince Hal ascends to the throne as King Henry V upon his father's death. Falstaff, who had thought his friend's promotion could only benefit his own freeloading ways, is shocked to find himself barred from the King's presence.