Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on William Shakespeare's Henry IV Part 1. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
- Full Title: Henry IV Part I
- When Written: 1596-1597
- Where Written: London
- When Published: 1598
- Literary Period: Elizabethan England
- Genre: History play
- Setting: England, 1402-1403
- Climax: The Battle of Shrewsbury
- Antagonist: Hotspur
Fan of Falstaff. Sir John Falstaff was Queen Elizabeth I’s favorite Shakespearean character and the queen’s wish to see Falstaff in love eventually inspired Shakespeare to write The Merry Wives of Windsor.
Real-life Falstaff. There’s strong evidence that Shakespeare based the character of Falstaff on the historical Protestant martyr John Oldcastle and that ‘Falstaff’ was originally named ‘Oldcastle’ in the play. It’s believed that the character name was changed under pressure from John Oldcastle’s descendants, who didn’t want their ancestor associated with a drunken buffoon.