A line-by-line translation

Henry IV, Part 1

Henry IV, Part 1 Translation Table of Contents

The first play in Shakespeare’s Henriad trilogy, Henry IV, Part 1 tells the story of Prince Hal leaving behind his days carousing in the Boar’s Head Tavern to assume the royal role into which he was born. When Owen Glendower, Mortimer, and Harry “Hotspur” Percy threaten the King’s throne, Hal must take action to protect his father’s legacy. Shakespeare’s history play also introduces Falstaff—one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comic characters, a larger than life tavern buddy of Hal’s. The Shakescleare modern English translation of Henry IV, Part 1 unlocks every line of this famous play, including its most notable quotes like “If all the year were playing holidays; / To sport would be as tedious as to work” and Falstaff’s famous “What is honor?” speech.

Act 1, Scene 1

The King is informed that Mortimer has been captured and Hotspur has won a vital battle, which he must now answer for.

Act 1, Scene 2

Hal, Falstaff, and his comrades plan a robbery. Hal and Poins prepare to prank Falstaff and the others by robbing them.

Act 1, Scene 3

The King tries reasoning with Hotspur, but angry Hotspur agrees to join his father and uncle in launching a rebellion.

Act 2, Scene 1

Gadshill checks that all of the details are correct for the impending robbery, discussing the plan with the Chamberlain.

Act 2, Scene 2

Falstaff and his friends rob the travelers. Hal and Poins then set upon the thieves in jest.

Act 2, Scene 3

Hotspur reads a letter about the rebellion. His wife Kate tries to question him on the matter, but is put in her place.

Act 2, Scene 4

Falstaff exaggerates the failed robbery before the joke is revealed. Hal and Falstaff role-play as the King and Prince.

Act 3, Scene 1

The rebels divide the Kingdom into three parts for Glendower, Mortimer, and Hotspur. They prepare to leave for battle.

Act 3, Scene 2

The King scolds his son Hal for his unruly behavior. Hal makes amends, promising to fight Hotspur one-on-one in battle.

Act 3, Scene 3

Falstaff complains of being robbed. Hal prepares to leave for battle, and gives Falstaff control of some infantrymen.

Act 4, Scene 1

Hotspur learns that his father is too sick to fight in battle. The rebels prepare to fight, despite receiving bad news.

Act 4, Scene 2

Falstaff encounters Hal, and is shamed for the pitiful soldiers he has recruited. They set off to prepare for battle.

Act 4, Scene 3

Hotspur and the rebels debate when to launch an attack. Blunt arrives from the King to try to negotiate terms of peace.

Act 4, Scene 4

The Archbishop urges Sir Michael to deliver letters for him and expresses his fear that Hotspur will not win the battle.

Act 5, Scene 1

Hal sends a challenge to one-on-one combat to Hotspur through Worcester, who questions the King's right to rule.

Act 5, Scene 2

Worcester lies about the King's offer of pardon when he speaks with Hotspur, who then rouses his troops for battle.

Act 5, Scene 3

Douglas kills Blunt, thinking he is the King. Falstaff discovers Hotspur is not dead, and questions the notion of dying.

Act 5, Scene 4

Hal saves the King in battle and goes on to kill Hotspur. Falstaff tries to claim responsibility for Hotspur's death.

Act 5, Scene 5

The King reflects on the battle, and sends his men off to continue fighting against the rebellion.
Lani strange
About the Translator: Lani Strange

Lani is currently studying for an MA in Shakespeare Studies at King's College London and Shakespeare's Globe. She has a BA in English and Latin Literature from the University of Warwick and worked as a Teacher of Drama for a year in between her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. She has a love for all things theatrical and spends all of her free time either watching theatre or taking part in it herself.