Internet Shakespeare Editions


The Second "Tetralogy"


The name sometimes given to these plays comes from the Greek prefix for four (tetra-). Shakespeare wrote two series of history plays in groups of four. Henry V is the last play in the second group (the other three plays are Richard II, Henry IV, Part One, and Henry IV, Part Two). The first tetralogy consists of the three Henry VI plays and Richard III.

The other plays in the second tetralogy are, naturally, deeply connected with Henry V. They establish a historical background, and show the rise of Henry's father, Henry IV, through his usurpation of Richard II's crown. They also focus on the youth of Henry V, as he spends his time in revelry with the popular character Falstaff and his other friends until he is crowned and rejects his friends in favour of leading a more "appropriate" kingly life.