Henry IV Part 2


William Shakespeare

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Henry IV Part 2: Epilogue Summary & Analysis

Read our modern English translation of this scene.
The epilogue enters, apologizes for the inadequacies of the play, and says he’ll make up for the lousiness of the play by performing a dance to entertain the audience. He promises that Falstaff’s story will be picked up again in the next play, which will also include King Henry V’s future wife Katherine. He promises, too, that Falstaff is not based on the historic Sir John Oldcastle, for Falstaff will “die of a sweat” in France whereas Oldcastle died a martyr. He exits.
The “truth” of Falstaff’s character was a sticky issue in Shakespeare’s day. The character was based on a real-life man, John Oldcastle (in fact, “Falstaff” was originally “Oldcastle” in the play), but Oldcastle’s relatives were understandably upset by the portrait and this epilogue seems written to assuage their anxieties.
Lies, Honesty, Morality Theme Icon
Literary Devices