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?
Henry IV Part 1 guide sections