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Henry IV, part 1

Though titled "Henry IV," this play by William Shakespeare is the tale of the coming-of-age of the future Henry V—young Prince Hal, the compatriot of Falstaff and other disreputable rascals.

At the outset, Prince Hal seems to pale in comparison with the fiery Hotspur Percy, the young noble lord of the North. But Prince Hal does indeed grow up, evolving into King Henry V, perhaps the most heroic of all of Shakespeare's characters. This is the tale of the prodigal son writ large against the backdrop of medieval England.

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