YMMV / Henry IV

  • Alternate Character Interpretation - Is Falstaff some kind of canny Magnificent Bastard who tests Hal, and is eventually surpassed, or just an old fat drunkard who represents the worst excesses of Hal's youth — who is eventually outgrown? Does Hal's rejection of Falstaff fall under Crowning Moment of Awesome, Necessarily Evil, or Kick the Dog? Do Falstaff and Hal even like each other?
  • Ensemble Darkhorse - Falstaff. To the point that Orson Welles made a whole movie about him, and eventually Queen Elizabeth herself requested a play just about Falstaff — The Merry Wives of Windsor.
  • Fanon Discontinuity - Hal's first soliloquy, "I know you all", explains how he's not really a fun-loving rascal—he's just pretending to be one to make it more dramatic when he decides to get serious. A lot of the commentary on the play begins by carefully explaining why he doesn't really mean what he's saying.
    • Of course, if you don't ignore the soliloquy Hal gives, then he's easily the best chessmaster in Shakespeare.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Prince John proves himself to be one when he manages to convince a rebel army to disband by telling it's leaders that they will have all of their grievances brought before the King and addressed... and when they actually believe him, immediately having them all arrested. He ends the war that has lasted both parts of the play without firing a single arrow.
    • As mentioned, Hal can be seen as this depending on whether or not you buy his claim that he is simply playing the fool but really is just biding his time to wait for the right moment to get serious. Depending on the production, the actor could go further and play him as a full-on moustache twirling villain if they so desired, particularly in the scene where he takes the crown from his father mistakenly thinking the King is dead- such a choice would also make his decision to break with Falstaff less about Character Development and more a pre-planned, calculated, non-lethal version of You Have Outlived Your Usefulness.
  • Out of Focus - Close to being a Non-Indicative Title, the two plays bearing the name of Henry The Fourth aren't exactly focused on him but his son, the future Henry V.

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