Picking up where Henry IV, Part One left off after the Battle of Shrewsbury, Henry IV, Part Two is the story of England's King Henry IV during his final months of life, his reconciliation with his wayward heir, and his eventual death.
Shakespeare's actors did not receive a copy of the entire script but instead worked from "cue-scripts" or "part scripts" which contained only the lines and cues for a single character. The Renaissance Acting Editions provide cue-scripts for those who wish to experiment with the early modern acting process. Each play in the series consists of a set of cue-scripts and an unabridged prompt-script in modern font edited and prepared from William Shakespeare's First Folio of 1623. A "platt" (a.k.a. a "plot," a running list of entrances, exits, and major stage business) and instructions for assembling a cue-script roll are also included. These editions are not direct transcriptions of the First Folio texts. Original spelling, punctuation, and verse lineation have been retained throughout, but minimal revision has been done (e.g., correction of missing entrances and exits, restoration of simultaneous dialogue, etc.) to make the scripts more user-friendly.
A. R. Humphreyswas Professor of English at Leicester University. He also editedKing Henry IV Part 1and Much Ado About Nothing for the Arden Second Series,King Henry VandKing Henry VIIIfor Penguin, andJulius Caesarfor the Oxford Shakespeare. In the introduction to this Arden edition ofKing Henry IV Part 2, A. R. Humphreys begins by discussing the original publication of the play, the establishing of its date, and the extent to which Shakespeare took liberties with historical facts in 1and2 Henry IV. The editor proceeds to examine the relationship between the twoHenry IVplays, considering historical evidence and previous critical analysis. In the following section, Humphreys analyzes the several probable sources for the play, six of which appear in full in an appendix. Later in the introduction, the editor devotes substantial sections of his own criticism to the play's style and themes, with individual sections dedicated to Falstaff and the infamous scene of his rejection by Prince Hal. Humphreys finally dissects problems of the early texts, going over the nuances of the Quarto and Folio editions and comparing the two. Before the actual text of the play, notes are given on the particularities of this edition and its references and abbreviations. Following the text ofKing Henry IV Part 2are eight appendices: "Source Material"; "Hall probably not a Source"; "II. i. 88: The Singing-Man of Windsor"; "Justice Shallow and Gloucestershire"; "Gaultree"; "The Continuity of Scenes in Act IV, i-ii, and iv-v"; "IV. v. 20-30: 'Why doth the crown lie there . . .'"; and "Henry and the Crusade." The Arden Shakespearehas developed a reputation as the pre-eminent critical edition of Shakespeare for its exceptional scholarship, reflected in the thoroughness of each volume. An introduction comprehensively contextualizes the play, chronicling the history and culture that surrounded and influenced Shakespeare at the time of its writing and performance, and closely surveying critical approaches to the work. Detailed appendices address problems like dating and casting, and analyze the differing Quarto and Folio sources. A full commentary by one or more of the play’s foremost contemporary scholars illuminates the text, glossing unfamiliar terms and drawing from an abundance of research and expertise to explain allusions and significant background information. Highly informative and accessible, Arden offers the fullest experience of Shakespeare available to a reader. Table of Contents Preface INTRODUCTION 1. Publication 2. Date 3. The Extent of Revision (i) Changes of Names (ii) Further Revisions? 4. The Relationship to1 Henry IV 5. The Main Sources (i) Holinshed (ii) Daniel (iii) Stow (iv) Elyot (v)A Myrroure for Magistrates (vi) The “Wild Prince Hal” Stories (vii)The Famous Victories of Henry the Fifth (viii) Other Prince Hal Plays? 6. Themes and their Treatment (i) Richard and Henry (ii) Henry and Necessity (iii) Statecraft and Morality (iv) Miscalculation (v) Anarchy (vi) Age and Disease (vii) Life in Place and Time 7. Falstaff 8. The Rejection 9. The Style and its Functions 10. The Text (i) The Transmission of the Text (ii) The Cuts in the Quarto (iii) The Copy for the Folio (iv) Comparison of the Quarto and Folio Texts (v) The Folio Text independent of the Quarto? (vi) The Folio Text not independent of the Quarto? (vii) The Answer? (viii) The Dering Manuscript 11. Editorial Methods 12. References and Abbreviations THE SECOND PART OF KING HENRY THE FOURTH APPENDICES I. Source Material 1. Holinshed 2. Daniel 3. Stow 4. Elyot 5.The Famous Victories of Henry the Fifth 6. John Eliot:Ortho-epia Gallica II. Hall probably not a Source III. II. i. 88: The Singing-Man of Windsor IV. Justice Shallow and Gloucestershire V. Gaultree VI. The Continuity of Scenes in Act IV, i-ii, and iv-v VII. IV. v. 20-30: “Why doth the crown lie there . . .” VIII. Henry and the Crusade
Melchiori offers a fresh approach to the text of The Second Part of King Henry IV, which he sees as an unplanned sequel to the First Part, itself a 'remake' of an old, non-Shakespearean play. The Second Part deliberately exploits the popular success of Sir John Falstaff, introduced in Part One; the resulting rich humour gives a comic dimension to the play which makes it a unique blend of history, morality play and comedy. Among modern editions of the play this is the one most firmly based on the quarto. It presents an eminently actable text, by showing how Shakespeare's own choices are superior for practical purposes to suggested emendations, and by keeping interference in the original stage directions to a minimum, in order to respect, as Shakespeare did, the players' freedom. This updated edition includes a new introductory section by Adam Hansen describing recent stage, film and critical interpretations.