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Henry IV, Part 1

Henry IV, Part 1, culminates in the battle of Shrewsbury between the king's army and rebels seeking his crown. The dispute begins when Hotspur, the son of Northumberland, breaks with the king over the fate of his brother-in-law, Mortimer, a Welsh prisoner. Hotspur, Northumberland, and Hotspur's uncle Worcester plan to take the throne, later allying with Mortimer and a Welsh leader, Glendower. 

As that conflict develops, Prince Hal—Henry IV's son and heir—carouses in a tavern and plots to trick the roguish Sir John Falstaff and his henchmen, who are planning a highway robbery. Hal and a companion will rob them of their loot—then wait for Falstaff's lying boasts. The trick succeeds, but Prince Hal is summoned to war.

In the war, Hal saves his father’s life and then kills Hotspur, actions that help to redeem his bad reputation. Falstaff, meanwhile, cheats his soldiers, whom he leads to slaughter, and takes credit for Hotspur’s death.

Early printed texts

Henry IV, Part 1 was first published in a quarto in 1598. There is only an 8-page fragment of a single copy of its first printing (Q0, now held at and digitized by the Folger), although complete copies of an edition printed later the same year (Q1) survive. Q1 is the basis for the five quartos that follow—this was a very popular play. The play was included in the 1623 First Folio in a text that was based on Q5, although it introduced act and scene divisions and changed some stage directions. Most modern editions, including the Folger edition, follow Q1 for their text.

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Item Title: 
[King Henry IV. Part 1] The hystorie of Henrie the fourth.
Item Call Number: 
STC 22279a
Item Creator: 
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616.
Item Date: 
1598

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title page of the second quarto of 1 Henry IV
Item Title: 
The history of Henrie the Fourth; vvith the battell at Shrewsburie, betweene the King and Lord Henry Percy, surnamed Henry Hotspur of the north. VVith the humorous conceits of Sir Iohn Falstalffe [sic].
Item Call Number: 
STC 22281 copy 1
Item Creator: 
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616.
Item Date: 
1599

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title page of the third quarto of 1 Henry IV
Item Title: 
[King Henry IV. Part 1] The history of Henrie the fourth : vvith the battell at Shrewsburie, betweene the King, and Lord Henry Percy, surnamed Henry Hotspur of the north : with the humorous conceits of Sir Iohn Falstalffe [sic] / newly corrected by W. Sha
Item Call Number: 
STC 22282
Item Creator: 
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616.
Item Date: 
1604

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title page of the fourth quarto of 1 Henry IV
Item Title: 
[King Henry IV. Part 1] The history of Henry the fourth : vvith the battell at Shrewseburie, betweene the King, and Lord Henry Percy, surnamed Henry Hotspur of the north ; with the humorous conceites of Sir Iohn Falstalffe [sic] / newly corrected by W. Sh
Item Call Number: 
STC 22283 copy 1
Item Creator: 
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616.
Item Date: 
1608

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Item Title: 
[King Henry IV. Part 1]
Item Call Number: 
STC 22284 copy 1
Item Creator: 
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616.
Item Date: 
1613

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Item Title: 
[King Henry IV. Part 1]
Item Call Number: 
STC 22285 copy 1
Item Creator: 
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616.
Item Date: 
1622

033169.jpg

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Item Title: 
Works. 1623] Mr. William Shakespeares comedies, histories, & tragedies : published according to the true originall copies.
Item Call Number: 
STC 22273 Fo.1 no.68
Item Creator: 
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616.
Item Date: 
1623

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Item Title: 
[King Henry IV. Part 1] The historie of Henry the Fourth : vvith the battell at Shrewesbury, betweene the king, and Lord Henry Percy, surnamed Henry Hotspur of the north.
Item Call Number: 
STC 22286 copy 1
Item Creator: 
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616.
Item Date: 
1632

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Item Title: 
Mr. VVilliam Shakespeares comedies, histories, and tragedies. : Published according to the true originall copies.
Item Call Number: 
STC 22274 Fo.2 no.07
Item Creator: 
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616.
Item Date: 
1632

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Item Title: 
[King Henry IV. Part 1] The historie of Henry the Fourth : vvith the battell at Shrewsbury, betweene the King, and Lord Henry Percy, surnamed Henry Hotspur of the north : with the humorous conceits of Sir Iohn Falstaffe / newly corrected, by William Shake
Item Call Number: 
STC 22287 copy 6
Item Creator: 
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616.
Item Date: 
1639

Picturing Henry IV, Part 1

As part of an NEH-funded project, the Folger digitized thousands of 18th-, 19th-, and early 20th-century images representing Shakespeare’s plays. Some of these images show actors in character, while others show the plays as if they were real-life events—telling the difference isn't always easy. A selection of images related to 1 Henry IV is shown below, with links to our digital image collection.

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John Jack as Falstaff (late 19th century)
John Jack as Falstaff (late 19th century)
Item Title: 
John Jack as Sir John Falstaff [in Shakespeare's King Henry IV pt. 1] [graphic] / Sarony.
Item Call Number: 
ART File J12 no.1 PHOTO (size XS)
Item Creator: 
Sarony, Napoleon, 1821-1896, photographer.
Item Date: 
N[ew] Y[ork] : [s.n., late 19th century?]

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John Philip Kemble as Hotspur (19th century)

John Philip Kemble as Hotspur (19th century)

Item Title: 
Mr. J. Kemble as Hotspur [in Shakespeare's King Henry IV, pt. 1] [graphic].
Item Call Number: 
ART File K31.4 no.5 (size XS)
Item Date: 
[London?] : J. Bailey, Wholesale Print Warehouse, [19th century?]

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Drawing of Falstaff acting the part of the king (act 2, scene 4; 1829)
Drawing of Falstaff acting the part of the king (act 2, scene 4; 1829)
Item Title: 
King Henry IV, pt. 1, II, 4, [Falstaff enacting the part of the king] [graphic] / [Johann Heinrich Ramberg].
Item Call Number: 
ART Box R167 no.8 (size L)
Item Creator: 
Ramberg, Johann Heinrich, artist.
Item Date: 
[1829?]

More images of 1 Henry IV can be found in our digital image collection. (Because of how they were cataloged, some images from other plays might appear in the image searches linked here, so always check the sidebar to see if the image is described as part of a larger group.)