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best play or worst? Shakespeare's Worst: George Bernard Shaw , Shakespeare's Best: Mark...

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abrham | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 9, 2008 at 6:47 PM via web

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best play or worst? Shakespeare's Worst: George Bernard Shaw , Shakespeare's Best: Mark Van Doren

Which character in the play is the most admirable? Which is the least admirable?

In the preceding paragraphs, under “Best Play–or Worst,” Mark Van Doren and George Bernard Shaw present opposing opinions about .the literary quality of Henry IV Part I. Do you agree with Van Doren or Shaw? (explain)

 

focusing on a theme expressed in the following epigrams: Two stars

keep not their motion in one sphere (5. 4. 71).

 

what examines the motivations of Prince Hal.

 

compare and contrast Prince Hal and Hotspur.

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1 Answer | Add Yours

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gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 10, 2008 at 9:16 AM (Answer #2)

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I would say that I disagree with both critics, legendary though they are. "Henry IV, Part One" is neither Shakespeare's best play nor his worst. To conclude either, one must look at different elements of the play. If you base your evaluation on vivid character portrait, then Falstaff's resonant image makes this play one of Shakespeare's best. However, if you base your evaluation on the unity of the play, or the flow of the plot, it is not his best. It creaks—it feels drawn out, too pointed at showing Hal at an early stage.

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