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Henry IV, Part 2:

Play introduction by Don Wooten - audio podcast - text (PDF)
Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_IV,_part_2
Read the play online - http://shakespeare.mit.edu/2henryiv/index.html

Last performed by the Genesius Guild in 2003 ~ Photos

“ Henry IV, Part Two ” picks up the story ten years later (although Shakespeare makes it seem to follow Part One immediately). The play continues the fight against the balance of Henry IV's enemies, but the historical action merely serves as a framework for the foolery of the “ tavern gang ” of Falstaff and his cronies. At play's end, Hal, now the king, coldly dismisses the fat knight and all his former friends, laying the groundwork for his appearance as the virtuous hero king in “ Henry V. ”

The machinations of English royalty were common knowledge to English citizens. What made these plays so appealing to theatergoers was Shakespeare's intimate knowledge of the “ underside ” of English society and the vitality, insight, and accuracy with which he brings it to the stage.