This is a reminder that we will be meeting to read the third play in the Henriad tetralogy, “Henry IV, Part 2” at the Plymouth District Library on Sunday, September 27 at 12:45 pm. We will be in the Dunning Room.

Also here are the Shakespeare dates for the rest of the year:

October 18, November 15, December 6

One of the interesting things that always catches my attention in Henry IV, Part 2 is what Prince Hal (later Henry V) tells his father (Henry IV) he said and did as Henry IV lay dying as opposed to what he really said and did. This sets the stage for a much darker reading of Henry V, namely trying to figure out just what Henry V really means behind the veil of the things he says. In a modification of the words of Albany at the end of King Lear, I think Henry V does not “speak what he feels” but says “what he ought to say”.

Another thing that stands out in this play to me is Henry IV’s curiously distorted vision of peace when he is on his deathbed despite all the paeans to peace that he has been making throughout the plays, remember his “Find we a time for frighted peace to pant” exhortation at the beginning of Henry IV, Part 1? Here is what he says on his deathbed, I don’t think he is going win a Peace Prize for this:

Therefore, my Harry,
Be it thy course to busy giddy minds
With foreign quarrels; that action borne out,
May waste the memory of former days.

In other words as Goddard puts it cynically, his advice is “Make war, dear boy, and God grant your reign may be a peaceful one.” and sure enough next thing we know Henry V is invading France after rejecting Falstaff and indirectly condemning him to his death of heartbreak.

Switching gears here, we will be reading “Love’s Labour’s Lost” at our October 18 reading in honor of the Shakespeare’s Globe Theater that is performing the play in late October at the Power Center in Ann Arbor. Many group members are going to see that production and the reading will be a nice preparation to help understand more of the sparkling dialog that livens the play that is thought by a few critics to be the most incredible feast of language that Shakespeare created. I know we were due for a tragedy but the timing of the Power Center performance and the fact that many people are not very familiar with the play seemed to scream out to me that the play be done at our October reading.

Finally, my wife and I are organizing a read aloud of A Christmas Carol at our house in what looks like is going to be early December. We will also have a potluck style tea with Victorian era snacks. I will pass a sheet around at the reading. If you are interested, please put your name down and the dates listed that you can attend.

Prashant Andrade (fea_123@yahoo.com)

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