[read: the OG dramedy]
Henry IV, part 1 falls in the Shakespearean plays I hesitate to read because I assume they’re heavy and I much prefer the mindless comedy of Mercutio or Bottom or other characters that are just funny.
Much to my surprise, though, there is humorous relief in the play! Success! Apparently it was the first historical play in which Shakespeare used prose and added in comedy with Falstaff. I have to say, the comedy itself is relatively funny about the ‘gross fat man’ that Falstaff really is. Classic Shakespearean humor, always good. It’s not funny enough until it makes you feel uncomfortable and you doubt if that was a joke in the first place or just plain mean. People really were more bitingly sarcastic back then.
Overall, I’d say it’s an important read in the genre of Shakespeare (hence my reading it for my Shakespeare class this summer) and it solidifies much of Shakespeare’s form in rewriting history for his production. Watching adaptations of the play that were recorded at The Globe also definitely helps with understanding the play, which I would suggest to any readers out there.
So… if you like Shakespeare and want to try something other than Romeo and Juliet, then I’d recommend picking this up. You will want to read up on British history to contextualize the play, and probably Richard II as well, its precursor in Shakespeare’s historical series. Therefore, for those who enjoy Shakespeare:
9 out of 10 would recommend.