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MonkeyNotes-Henry IV, Part 2 by William Shakespeare
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THEME

The play is introduced by a Prologue spoken by the allegorical figure of Rumor whose nature is to spread rumors, jealousies, and conjectures. Shakespeare is actually exploring the national life of Eastcheap and Gloucestershire together with the tumult and confusion of the state. A thoughtful tone is maintained throughout the play, and human life is portrayed as more complicated and is judged from a moral point of view. There is vitality and violence in the comedy and it is very powerfully imaginative.

In Henry IV Part 2, the King suffers from remorse: he yearns for a crusade, he admits his unjust ways, and he prays to God for forgiveness. It is not only guilt that afflicts him but the anguish that Halís wildness threatens the crown.

The play deals with men who want to do what they want: the King did and so do the rebels. Necessity is the natural plea. Henry is guilty of beastly actions that bring him to power.

The major theme of the play is Halís emergence into good rule. The main idea ďdisorder versus orderĒ is highlighted in the play. The ailing King is very much concerned about the future of his country. But contrary to his calculations, young Hal emerges as a dynamic, magnanimous ruler very much dedicated to duty. Disorder is suppressed and law and order is brought about in all levels of society. The rebels are arrested and executed. Justice is maintained.


Other Themes are those of miscalculation and decay. The play is introduced by Rumor; this creates a world of surmise, jealousy, and conjecture. Optimistic and pessimistic hopes spread throughout the play. The anticipations about Hal entertained by the King, Falstaff, and others are proven wrong. The rebels war council is concerned with an unpredictable future, they are betrayed by Northumberland, and they fall into a trap set by Prince John. Anarchy looms throughout the play. The rebels prepare for it, and the King expects it on his sonís accession to the throne. Age and disease affect the major part of the play.

The play is noted for its rich panorama of national life. There is vigorous and varied movement everywhere. The military scenes show a nation confused by the preparations for war. Messengers ride and armies march. Outside the history plot, Mistress Quickly represents the Eastcheap area and Doll represents prostitution. The play gives a rich sense of reality. Vitality, interplay of Moods, maturity of style are the fascinating aspects of the play. The play extends its scenes and styles to make the widest exploration of the nationís life.

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