Online reading group and book discussion forum
  HOME ENTER FORUMS OUR BOOKS LINKS DONATE ADVERTISE CONTACT  
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Sun Feb 28, 2021 7:49 am





Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 21 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Henry IV (Part 1), Act 5 
Author Message
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

BookTalk.org Owner
Diamond Contributor 3

Joined: May 2002
Posts: 16347
Location: Florida
Thanks: 3603
Thanked: 1382 times in 1082 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

 Henry IV (Part 1), Act 5
Henry IV (Part 1), Act 5

Please use this thread to discuss Henry IV (Part 1), Act 5.



Tue Dec 02, 2014 11:57 pm
Profile Email WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Thread Flintstone

Silver Contributor

Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 883
Location: Florida
Thanks: 371
Thanked: 539 times in 407 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Henry IV (Part 1), Act 5
In the immortal words of Albus Dumbledore we "Open at the close"

King:
"Rebellion in this land shall lose his sway,
Meeting the check of such another day;
and since this business so fare is done,
Let us not leave till all our own be won".

Shrewsbury is a great success for the Crown, The death of the rebels greatest champion has the survivors running to the hills.

In the beginning there is a rising of a feeble Sun. Bad weather portending a bad day, The King does not want war with his subjects, but is resolved to do them in for the sake of England.

There is a last minute appeal to peace by the rebels, But only on their terms which started this mess in the first place. Hal offers to settle matters in a death challenge to Hotspur, The King rejects this offer, as well he should, I don't think victory by either Hal or Hotspur would settle underlying issues.

In this exchange between King, Worcester and Hal, we find the none other than Falstaff is present for these proceedings.

Worcester:
"I have not sought the day of this dislike".
King:
You have not sought it? How comes it then?
Falstaff:
Rebellion lay in his way, and he found it.
Prince: to Falstaff
Peace, chewet, peace.

I can picture Falstaff lurking about, looking fat and ingratiating in the presence of the king. even here Hal is looking out for his odd friendship with an" ox with the pudding in his belly". How bold is Falstaff in the first place? He's the very thing the King laments of his son. Hal has essentially shushed Falstaff, obviously keeping his attention from the King.

Time to get ready for last minute shopping for even heathens respect this time of year, I for one wouldn't show up for Christmas dinner without an arm full of gifts to exchange. Merry Christmas People.



Last edited by Taylor on Sat Dec 20, 2014 10:03 am, edited 1 time in total.



The following user would like to thank Taylor for this post:
Flann 5, geo
Sat Dec 20, 2014 9:20 am
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Thread Flintstone

Silver Contributor

Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 883
Location: Florida
Thanks: 371
Thanked: 539 times in 407 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Henry IV (Part 1), Act 5
I have decided that I am all in for Falstaff, His is a kinship towards Hal that to me can be compared to a step fatherly type relationship. I think there is genuine attachment between these two, for instance....

Falstaff:
Hal, if thou see me down in the battle and bestride
me, so. Tis a point of friendship.
Prince:
Nothing but a colossus can do thee that friendship.
Say thy prayers, and farewell
Falstaff:
I would 'twere bedtime, Hal and all well.
Prince:
Why, thou owest God a death.
Falstaff:
tis not due yet. etc. and so on..

Its at this point that Falstaff goes into his better part of valor contemplation.

This exchange between the two, pin-points the honesty of their relationship. Pragmatic I think might be the word to use at this time to describe the anxiety present in these two just prior to conquest through war.
Of course for everyone involved angst is omnipresent. Bluster, bravado, these things are meaningless, humbleness, humility in the face of bigger things, leads to an honest repose.

Hotspur:
I thank him that he cuts me from my tale,
For I profess not talking, Only this;
Let each man do his best. And here I draw a sword,
Whose temper I intend to stain
With the best blood that I can meet withal
in the adventure of this perilous day.
Now, Esperance! Percy! and set on!
sound all the lofty instruments of war,
and by that music let us all embrace,
For, Heaven to Earth, some of us never shall
A second time do such a courtesy.

I think here Hotspur shows humility to the challenge ahead, all things in life should be approached with this type of determination.

Hal and Falstaff I think give us a modern ideal of tolerance that was uncommon at a time of uncharitable obedience to a class structure of ignorance and cruelty that surrounded them. I think theirs is a sort of surrogate relationship, both idealist caught up in the reality of life in there time. A rejection of status quo, but both having an enforced roll to play.



Last edited by Taylor on Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:34 am, edited 3 times in total.



The following user would like to thank Taylor for this post:
Flann 5, geo
Sun Dec 21, 2014 12:13 am
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Nutty for Books


Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 1581
Location: Dublin
Thanks: 832
Thanked: 705 times in 605 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Ireland (ie)

Post Re: Henry IV (Part 1), Act 5
Taylor wrote:
I have decided that I am all in for Falstaff, His is a kinship towards Hal that to me can be compared to a step fatherly type relationship. I think there is genuine attachment between these two, for instance....

Hi Taylor, Thanks.
On a second reading of some passages, I'm inclined to agree with you that there is an affection between these two. A central theme seems to be courage and honour and it's meaning and value.
The soliloquies are a device to give the audience the real thoughts and feelings of the protagonists so these provide the best guide to the real motives and ideas of the characters.
Falstaff and Hal seem to embody two extremes. Falstaff that bravery and honour are worthless and foolish as in the proverb; "A living dog is better than a dead lion." Still he's prepared to use the currency cynically for self promotion as when claiming he killed Hotspur. Falstaff throws Hotspur's body down casually like a sack of potatoes, reflecting his estimation of Hotspur's reckless pursuit of honour through battle,when the deck was loaded against him.
Hal though has his own agenda based on the prevailing notions of bravery and honour. A calculated plan to lower public expectation of him and a desire for a glory by defeating Hotspur and so showing that Hotspurs glory really belongs to him.
The question is though whether this is real or a kind of vainglory?
In the real political world things are not simple and the various parties have personal aims and ambitions. Douglas may be an enemy to Hotspur one day and an ally the next.
Mortimor the king's ally and brave warrior becomes the enemy when captured then marrying enemy Glendower's daughter.
So the achievement of glory through bravery by Hal must be measured against the real world of scheming,desire for land and power, and the fickleness that seems to pervade this world.
Could a wounded barfly like Hal really have defeated someone like Hotspur in hand to hand combat? I doubt it.
And how great was the overall victory given the turn of events heavily favouring the king's army and perhaps the decimated ragtag army of Falstaff's is a pointer to the real price of glory and honour in that world.
It would seem that neither Falstaff or Hal represent anything of real meaning or worth.
The king really wants peace in the land but it's beyond his control,and at the same time would prefer a crusade against the pagans as a 'virtuous' war.
Shakespeare plays fast and loose with history and seeks to entertain, and as was said in an earlier post had to be careful in his presentation given the reality of monarchy in his own day.



Last edited by Flann 5 on Sun Dec 21, 2014 10:06 am, edited 1 time in total.



The following user would like to thank Flann 5 for this post:
Taylor
Sun Dec 21, 2014 10:05 am
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Thread Flintstone

Silver Contributor

Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 883
Location: Florida
Thanks: 371
Thanked: 539 times in 407 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Henry IV (Part 1), Act 5
Quote:
Flann5 wrote:
Hal though has his own agenda based on the prevailing notions of bravery and honour. A calculated plan to lower public expectation of him and a desire for a glory by defeating Hotspur and so showing that Hotspurs glory really belongs to him.


I think I understand what your saying, both Falstaff and Hal use Hotspur in their respective notions for self advancement as an expedient, is Hal out to lower himself in the public eye or to lower public perception of Hotspur?

In perusing Richard 2 I found an interesting exchange between Henry 4 and Hotspur,

King:
Can no man tell me of my unthrifty son?
'Tis full three months since I did see him last.
If any plague hang over us, 'tis he.
I would to God, my lords, he might be found.
Inquire at London, 'mongst the taverns there
For there, they say, he daily doth frequent
With unrestrained loose companions,
Even such, they say, as stand in narrow lanes
And beat our watch and rob our passengers,
While he, young wanton and effeminate boy,
Takes on the point of honor to support
So dissolute a crew.
Percy:
My lord some two days since I saw the Prince,
And told of those triumphs held at Oxford.
King Henry:
And what said the gallant?
Percy:
His answer was, he would unto the stews,
And from the common'st creature pluck the glove
and wear it as favor, and with that
He would unhorse the lustiest challenger.
King Henry:
AS dissolute as desperate. Yet through both
I see some sparks of better hope, which elder years
May happily bring forth.

I think all characters demonstrate propensity to public expectation.
Quote:
Flann 5 wrote:
It would seem that neither Falstaff or Hal represent anything of real meaning or worth.


Your right, but they are as real as times allow.



The following user would like to thank Taylor for this post:
Flann 5
Sun Dec 21, 2014 10:52 am
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Nutty for Books


Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 1581
Location: Dublin
Thanks: 832
Thanked: 705 times in 605 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Ireland (ie)

Post Re: Henry IV (Part 1), Act 5
Taylor wrote:
I think all characters demonstrate propensity to public expectation.

I think that's true.
Kings generally were more concerned about the powerful landowning nobility than the general public.
The wars of the Roses were basically a family dispute about who was entitled to the crown and rule of England.
There is the theme of Hal's relationship with his dad King Henry. Henry wishes that Hotspur was his son rather than Hal as Hotspur exemplifies bravery and honour.
Yet Hotspur rebels against the king,and Hal who is a rebel of a different sort shows his loyalty finally by disposing of Hotspur!
Shakespeare is quite lenient towards king Henry as far as real history goes. Henry ruthlessly seized power and murdered Richard who was understandably out of favour at the time.
As I say,redemption and reconciliation comes through loyalty shown in warrior bravery,yet in the background is the whole history of wars,land grabs and murders.
The ordinary people and soldiers are the proverbial cannon fodder in these power games, and well represented as pawns in the medieval imagery of the chess set.



The following user would like to thank Flann 5 for this post:
Taylor
Sun Dec 21, 2014 12:11 pm
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

BookTalk.org Moderator
Platinum Contributor

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 4607
Location: NC
Thanks: 2072
Thanked: 2110 times in 1568 posts
Gender: Male

Post Re: Henry IV (Part 1), Act 5
Flann 5 wrote:
The soliloquies are a device to give the audience the real thoughts and feelings of the protagonists so these provide the best guide to the real motives and ideas of the characters.
Falstaff and Hal seem to embody two extremes. Falstaff that bravery and honour are worthless and foolish as in the proverb; "A living dog is better than a dead lion." Still he's prepared to use the currency cynically for self promotion as when claiming he killed Hotspur. Falstaff throws Hotspur's body down casually like a sack of potatoes, reflecting his estimation of Hotspur's reckless pursuit of honour through battle,when the deck was loaded against him.
Hal though has his own agenda based on the prevailing notions of bravery and honour. A calculated plan to lower public expectation of him and a desire for a glory by defeating Hotspur and so showing that Hotspurs glory really belongs to him..

Perhaps one of the reasons we like Falstaff, despite the fact that he’s a bit of a cad, is that he isn’t afraid to to speak his mind. We see this mixing of kings and clowns in other Shakespeare plays. The Fool is typically the only character capable of speaking the truth because everyone else is caught up in keeping up appearances. In King Lear, for example, after the King loses his power and is reduced to wandering the countryside, the Fool is making irreverent comments that cut through all the bullshit. We see this in Hamlet as well. The Gravedigger talks about death as the final equalizer, which helps the Prince accept the ultimate meaning of his destiny.

So I keep thinking about Shakespeare’s comments about the role of society (all the world’s a stage and we are merely players). The King in Henry IV, more than anyone, has to play a role. And Hal arguably resists his role at first. Or he recognizes his role all too well. Maybe he’s both procrastinating and positioning himself for the ulitimate comeback at the same time. I just don’t know!

In any event, we know Falstaff’s heart’s in the right place when he mouths off in front of the King and Hal has to shush him up. The Earl of Worcester makes a disingenuous comment about not seeking this “day of dislike” (the rebellion), and Falstaff says sarcastically, yeah, right, rebellion just happened to lay in his way, and he found it.

Hal, despite all of his posturing to look good for the people, apparently lets Falstaff take the credit for killing Hotspur. Is it because he recognizes the truth of what Falstaff says about honor?

“What is honour? a word. What is in that word honour?
What is that honour? Air. A trim reckoning!
Who hath it? He that died o’ Wednesday. Doth he feel it? no.
Doth he hear it? no. ‘Tis insensible, then. Yea,
to the dead. But will it not live with the living?
no. Why? detraction will not suffer it. Therefore
I’ll none of it. Honour is a mere scutcheon: and so
ends my catechism.

We see nobility in Hal’s actions. And Falstaff shows his usual willingness to capitalize on the honor of killing Hotspur even while he views honor with contempt. This is a complex character, and the relationship between Hal and Falstaff sort of defies all logic. Maybe Hal respects Falstaff's ability to see the world without filters and is willing to make many concessions for his old friend. But how will it be between the two of them when Hal eventually becomes King? This takes us full circle back to Falstaff's questions from Act 1.


_________________
-Geo
Question everything


The following user would like to thank geo for this post:
Flann 5, Taylor
Sun Dec 21, 2014 8:03 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Thread Flintstone

Silver Contributor

Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 883
Location: Florida
Thanks: 371
Thanked: 539 times in 407 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Henry IV (Part 1), Act 5
Quote:
Geo wrote:
We see nobility in Hal’s actions. And Falstaff shows his usual willingness to capitalize on the honor of killing Hotspur even while he views honor with contempt. This is a complex character, and the relationship between Hal and Falstaff sort of defies all logic. Maybe Hal respects Falstaff's ability to see the world without filters and is willing to make many concessions for his old friend. But how will it be between the two of them when Hal eventually becomes King? This takes us full circle back to Falstaff's questions from Act 1.


Bravo for Showing us the full circle, I honestly didn't see it coming.

Quote:
Hal, despite all of his posturing to look good for the people, apparently lets Falstaff take the credit for killing Hotspur. Is it because he recognizes the truth of what Falstaff says about honor?


Hal absolutely saw through Falstaff's fantastical story because Hal is intimate with fat Jacks exaggerations, interestingly we'll learn in part two that Hal has definite ideas about honor that wont mirror Jacks. I think your right though, at Shrewsbury, at that moment Hal has little regard for his own personal vain-glory.



The following user would like to thank Taylor for this post:
Flann 5
Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:20 pm
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Nutty for Books


Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 1581
Location: Dublin
Thanks: 832
Thanked: 705 times in 605 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Ireland (ie)

Post Re: Henry IV (Part 1), Act 5
geo wrote:
We see nobility in Hal’s actions. And Falstaff shows his usual willingness to capitalize on the honor of killing Hotspur even while he views honor with contempt. This is a complex character, and the relationship between Hal and Falstaff sort of defies all logic. Maybe Hal respects Falstaff's ability to see the world without filters and is willing to make many concessions for his old friend. But how will it be between the two of them when Hal eventually becomes King? This takes us full circle back to Falstaff's questions from Act 1.

Maybe you are right Geo,about Hal's view of honour changing. I haven't advanced beyond part one at this time.
It's a tangled complex story. Valour is the greatest virtue apparently.Often though loyalty is based on family or marriage ties and personal motives of revenge or justice from their standpoint.
Most of the conspiring rebels were supporters of Henry originally, but only to reclaim his land which they say, he had sworn was his only goal.
Mortimer we are told was Richard's preferred heir and is brother in law to Hotspur. Mortimer is captured in battle fighting for the king against the king's enemy Glendower, but promptly marries his daughter.
The issue of the ransom of Mortimer, sought using his captured Scot's army as a lever by Hotspur, lights the fuse of smouldering suspicions on all sides.
The ideal of valour and honour is upheld by Hal in wanting to decide the issue one on one with Hotspur,but I would agree with Taylor that it's not going to deal with the underlying issues.
Worcestor and Vernon in the end are executed as traitors, though their view is pragmatically that the king would kill them anyway sooner or later,as traitors.
King Henry despite his desire for peace suspects Hotspur and others of latent goals of deposing him in favour of Mortimer.
There's ambiguity between the personal family loyalties and political ones.
Falstaff is a clown like character but his pragmatism questions the romantic ideal of valour.
I think his cynicism is corrosive and his only remaining goals are self indulgent.
He's portrayed as a coward in the robbery escapade and playing dead rather than be killed in combat.Neither has he the slightest qualm about stealing the money bound for the kings treasury.Hal of course reimburses this which Falstaff considers madness.
So there's an inherent value contradiction in Hal allowing him claim honour for killing Hotspur.
It may be that Hal can't actually live with the romanticised ideal in practice, and his personal attachment to Falstaff overrules his unrealistic values,at least at this time.
Nonetheless there is a moral compromise here, at odds with his avowed values. I doubt he will be appointing Falstaff chief treasurer when he takes the throne.



Last edited by Flann 5 on Mon Dec 22, 2014 11:53 am, edited 2 times in total.



The following user would like to thank Flann 5 for this post:
geo, Taylor
Mon Dec 22, 2014 11:36 am
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Thread Flintstone

Silver Contributor

Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 883
Location: Florida
Thanks: 371
Thanked: 539 times in 407 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Henry IV (Part 1), Act 5
Quote:
Flann 5 wrote:
Nonetheless there is a moral compromise here, at odds with his avowed values. I doubt he will be appointing Falstaff chief treasurer when he takes the throne.


That is the true oddity of the relationship, I don't think I'd trust Jack with my bank roll either :P

I found this Quote from Harold Bloom:
"What, then are the teachings of the philosopher of Eastcheap? Eating, drinking, fornication, and the other obvious indulgences are not the heart of Falstaffianism, though they certainly take up much of the knight's time. This does not matter, because Falstaff, as Hal tells us, has nothing to do with the time of the day. That which we are, that only we can teach; Falstaff, who is free, instructs us in freedom-not a freedom in society, but from society".

I feel better about that "whoreson round man" all the time. :yes:



The following user would like to thank Taylor for this post:
Flann 5, geo
Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:04 pm
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

BookTalk.org Moderator
Platinum Contributor

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 4607
Location: NC
Thanks: 2072
Thanked: 2110 times in 1568 posts
Gender: Male

Post Re: Henry IV (Part 1), Act 5
Orson Welles made a movie that includes portions of the four plays in the Henriad, mostly Henry IV, parts one and two. The film revolves on Falstaff as the central character (played by Welles himself). This movie wasn't well received when it first came out and has remained in relative obscurity. Although Roger Ebert and other critics now feel the movie is right up there with Citizen Cane, and Welles considered it his best work.

Anyway, if you watch this trailer, you'll recognize a few lines from Part One.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eii4_wbuPJY


_________________
-Geo
Question everything


The following user would like to thank geo for this post:
Taylor
Mon Dec 22, 2014 10:19 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

BookTalk.org Moderator
Platinum Contributor

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 4607
Location: NC
Thanks: 2072
Thanked: 2110 times in 1568 posts
Gender: Male

Post Re: Henry IV (Part 1), Act 5
Flann 5 wrote:
There's ambiguity between the personal family loyalties and political ones.
Falstaff is a clown like character but his pragmatism questions the romantic ideal of valour.
I think his cynicism is corrosive and his only remaining goals are self indulgent.
He's portrayed as a coward in the robbery escapade and playing dead rather than be killed in combat.Neither has he the slightest qualm about stealing the money bound for the kings treasury.Hal of course reimburses this which Falstaff considers madness.
So there's an inherent value contradiction in Hal allowing him claim honour for killing Hotspur.


Indeed, much of intrigue with Shakespeare lies in his ambiguity. If it doesn't quite make sense that Hal pals around with Falstaff or that their motives seem contradictory, isn't this an accurate reflection of the real world?

I fear my lumping Falstaff with Shakespeare's other clowns and fools isn't quite accurate. Most of Shakespeare's fools are minor characters, and Falstaff is, of course, a major character who appears in several plays. It will be interesting to read Bloom's chapter on 1 Henry IV in his book, Shakespeare, the Invention of the Human. I also have Isaac Asimov's book on Shakespeare. I enjoy reading this stuff.

I found yet another book today in a used book shop. It's called, Shakespeare's English Kings by Peter Saccio. Saccio discusses history of the English monarchs in Shakespeare's ten history plays, comparing modern scholarly knowledge with the source material that Shakespeare used. I don't know when I'll have time to read it, but it does look pretty interesting


_________________
-Geo
Question everything


The following user would like to thank geo for this post:
Flann 5, Taylor
Mon Dec 22, 2014 10:39 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Gold Contributor
Book Discussion Leader

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 6065
Location: Canberra
Thanks: 2492
Thanked: 2454 times in 1838 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Australia (au)

Post Re: Henry IV (Part 1), Act 5
The fool in King Lear is able to say things that are true that no one would ordinarily dare to say. The fool is outside the normal structures of ambitions for power and his cynical descriptions are not seen as a threat.


_________________
http://rtulip.net


The following user would like to thank Robert Tulip for this post:
Flann 5, geo, Taylor
Tue Dec 23, 2014 4:14 am
Profile Email WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

BookTalk.org Moderator
Platinum Contributor

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 4607
Location: NC
Thanks: 2072
Thanked: 2110 times in 1568 posts
Gender: Male

Post Re: Henry IV (Part 1), Act 5
Taylor wrote:
I feel better about that "whoreson round man" all the time. :yes:

I always recommend Bloom mostly because he writes well and his essays are fun to read. That said, in THE INVENTION OF THE HUMAN, he really goes on and on about Falstaff to the point that some Amazon reviewers say the old man has gone completely batty.

Anyway, I recall something Bloom said in the chapter on A Midsummer Night's Dream (which I've read a number of times because Midsummer is the one and only Shakespeare play I have taught). There's a clownish character in Midsummer named Bottom, a rustic country gent who is turned into a donkey in the play. Bottom is a great simple-minded character who, as Robert says, is able to make unpretentious comments that ring true in a play where the whole world turns topsy turvy. Bloom wastes no time in comparing Bottom to Falstaff and, of course, must reiterate for the umpteenth time that Falstaff is Shakespeare's best character.

"Bottom is Shakespeare's Everyman, a true original, a clown rather than a fool or jester. He is a wise clown, though he smilingly denies his palpable wisdom, as if his innocent vanity did not extend to such pretension. One delights in Falstaff (unless one is an academic moralist), but one loves Bottom, though necessarily he is the lesser figure of the two. No one in Shakespeare, not even Hamlet or Rosalind, Iago or Edmund, is more intelligent than Falstaff. Bottom is as shrewd as he is kind, but he is not a wit, and Falstaff is Monarch of Wit. Every exigency finds Bottom round and ready: his response is always admirable."

So much of Bloom's infatuation for Falstaff has to do with his wit and intelligence. Indeed, many of the memorable scenes in 1 Henry IV feature the witty banter between Hal and Falstaff. And though Taylor and I may still see this play as Hal's coming-of-age story, we are both still talking an awful lot about Falstaff.

If you haven't checked out Orson Welles' portrayal of Falstaff in the trailer I posted, please do so. He really seems to nail the part. Welles uses his natural "roundness" to good effect.

Also, since this is Christmas, it just occurred to me that Clarence, the angel in It's A Wonderful Life, is a very Bottom-like character. If you were enrolled in a Shakespeare course somewhere, comparing the two characters would make an interesting paper!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2ZZUu2HUuo


_________________
-Geo
Question everything


The following user would like to thank geo for this post:
Flann 5, Taylor
Tue Dec 23, 2014 9:44 am
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Nutty for Books


Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 1581
Location: Dublin
Thanks: 832
Thanked: 705 times in 605 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Ireland (ie)

Post Re: Henry IV (Part 1), Act 5
Taylor wrote:
I found this Quote from Harold Bloom:
"What, then are the teachings of the philosopher of Eastcheap? Eating, drinking, fornication, and the other obvious indulgences are not the heart of Falstaffianism, though they certainly take up much of the knight's time. This does not matter, because Falstaff, as Hal tells us, has nothing to do with the time of the day. That which we are, that only we can teach; Falstaff, who is free, instructs us in freedom-not a freedom in society, but from society".


Hi Taylor, It probably seems that I'm hard on Falstaff. I think that the more you look the more subtle and nuanced the play is.
I can't agree with Bloom here at all though. Falstaff is justifiably cynical about the realities of power and the weight of value placed on valour in that lopsided way.
He is not free from society though and has to fight on the king's side in the battle. He's also vulnerable to the exploitation of his likeminded confederates in crime, who's loyalty comes at a price.
I think Geo makes a good point about the contradictions of human nature itself.It's almost impossible to actually implement the romanticised ideal.
The scene of Falstaff's recruiting of his army for battle is telling.Falstaff and co are obliged to fight, They are unwilling 'volunteers' but adopt a pragmatic and mercenary approach to reality.
Bardolph wants payment. They press gang those down on their luck, into service for the king's shilling, most of whom are not soldiers at all but beggars and misfits and are doomed to extermination in battle.
Hal is quite blase about all this.
We have the comic irony of Falstaff, and his 'lieutenants' Bardolph and Peto fighting for the king's "own."
So we have the contrast between the romantic ideal of valour and the pragmatic mercenary approach of Falstaff and co.
The king is not so callous that he wants war at all costs. knowing the human toll. He is though portrayed as harbouring guilt for his past crimes which a crusade war against the pagans might atone for.And from a psychological perspective this is mercenary in it's own way.
So I suppose the ideal of valour is a kind of distortion of reality,and maybe there is a real parallel between the tavern thieves and the nobles in their striving for power and land.
I think Falstaff is a larger than life character, witty and entertaining and real to life in many ways.
It might seem a bit harsh but that's how it looks to me.



The following user would like to thank Flann 5 for this post:
geo, Taylor
Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:40 am
Profile Email
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 21 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.  Go to page 1, 2  Next



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:



Site Resources 
HELPFUL INFO:
Community Rules & Tips
Frequently Asked Questions
BBCode Explained
Author Interview Transcripts
Book Discussion Leaders

IDEAS FOR WHAT TO READ:
Bestsellers
Book Awards
Banned Books
• Book Reviews
• Online Books
• Team Picks
Newspaper Book Sections

WHERE TO BUY BOOKS:
• Coming Soon!

BEHIND THE BOOKS:
• Coming Soon!

PROMOTE YOUR BOOK!
Advertise on BookTalk.org
Promote your FICTION book
Promote your NON-FICTION book





BookTalk.org is a thriving book discussion forum, online reading group or book club. We read and talk about both fiction and non-fiction books as a community. Our forums are open to anyone in the world. While discussing books is our passion we also have active forums for talking about poetry, short stories, writing and authors. Our general discussion forum section includes forums for discussing science, religion, philosophy, politics, history, current events, arts, entertainment and more. We hope you join us!


Navigation 
MAIN NAVIGATION

HOMEFORUMSOUR BOOKSAUTHOR INTERVIEWSADVERTISELINKSFAQDONATETERMS OF USEPRIVACY POLICYSITEMAP

OTHER PAGES WORTH EXPLORING
Banned Book ListOnline Reading GroupTop 10 Atheism Books

Copyright © BookTalk.org 2002-2021. All rights reserved.

Display Pagerank