Friday, 14 February 2014

Henry IV

Yes, still working my way through some Shakespeare.
I got a copy of Henry IV at my library, and it had a part one and a part two. I don’t actually know how many parts there are or  if I’ve actually read the whole thing, but I would like to think this chapter (or at least book) closed.
This play wasn’t a walk in the park like Othello. Well, Othello wasn’t, but it feels like it was, now I look back on it. Henry IV has more characters who all have something to say but don’t contribute very much to the core of the story, which makes it all the more confusing to keep up – especially if you, like me, only have time for a few pages here and there.
Henry IV is different from all other Shakespeare plays I’ve read, and I must say that I must alter my opinion about our popular English writer: his plays are not always purely about emotions. This play felt more like a historical piece, which tries to give a background to the dry facts to make the reader understand what was really going on. We meet a young prince Henry, who hangs around with men any parent would frown upon, and we get the impression he frequently goes to inns and isn’t too shy to steal a purse or two. His friend Falstaff especially is a very memorable character, someone who has a knack for getting into debts and troubles, and a nose for getting out of them.
During the play, we get to know this prince as someone who will not try to shove his responsibilities aside, but rather takes responsibilities for his friends. When his father asks him to prepare for battle, he does without moaning, and he wins the battle as well. His father is suspicious that he might be after his crown or the treasure chest, but Henry V proves him wrong. And at last, when Henry IV draws his final breath, Henry V takes up his throne with a heavy but dutiful heart. His bachelor friends rejoice, thinking he will grant them titles and riches, but Henry V does no such thing, and sends them away until they sin no more; in this, the transformation is complete.

most of this book I read when I had a four-hour break between two shifts, which is not enough to go back home for, but too much time to go “shopping” in a barely-busy town with only two streets you could deem worthy of browsing. Eventually I ended up reading in the train station, because you don’t need to keep paying for cups of tea there to drown your guilt for sitting there for hours. Anyways, on my way there I passed a cafĂ© and I noticed its name for the first time- Falstaff. And then I felt good and educated and stuff because I got the reference.
I felt like I needed to share that titbit.

So yeah, definitely not an easy work to read, but if you liked Shakespeare so far, you might want to give it a go, because some of the characters are very memorable.

Until next time,


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