Henry IV Part 1


Writers: William Shakespeare


Show Information

Number of Acts
First Produced
Drama, Historical/Biographical
Period, Multiple Settings
Time & Place
England, 1400s
Cast Size
Ideal for
College/University, Large Cast, Mostly Male Cast, Professional Theatre, Regional Theatre, Star Vehicle Male
Casting Notes
Mostly male cast
Includes adult, mature adult, young adult, late teen characters


William Shakespeare's Henry IV Part I is based on the life of King Henry IV of England and his son, Prince Hal, who eventually is crowned King Henry V. At this time, King Henry has deposed King Richard II and now sits on the throne of England -- though his hold on the throne continues to be somewhat tenuous. Meanwhile, his son and only heir to the kingdom is off cavorting in the pubs, associating criminals, and appointing the drunken Falstaff as a sort of surrogate father-figure, shirking the more formal father-son relationship he is expected to have with his father, the king. Meanwhile, The Percy family, who were instrumental in putting King Henry IV on the throne in the first place, are now devising a plan to depose him. The King owes the Percys money, and they are frustrated that he will neither repay the debt nor afford them the control and respect they believe that they are due as noblemen. When battles turn deadly and King Henry's kingship is actively threatened, will party boy Prince Hal finally step up to the plate to defend his father and his country?

Lead Characters

Henry IV Part 1 guide sections