The Merry Wives of Windsor | Critical Essay by Frederick B. Jonassen

This literature criticism consists of approximately 13 pages of analysis & critique of The Merry Wives of Windsor.
This section contains 9,697 words
(approx. 33 pages at 300 words per page)
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Critical Essay by Frederick B. Jonassen

SOURCE: "The Meaning of Falstaff's Allusion to the Jack-a-Lent in The Merry Wives of Windsor " in Studies in Philology, Vol. 88, No. 1, Winter, 1991, pp. 46-68.

In the essay below, Jonassen identifies Falstaff as a "Jack-a-Lent," or scapegoat, who satirizes the powerful forces in the community even while he is himself being humiliated, thus restoring balance to the world of the play in the end.

I: the Allusion to the Jack-a-lent

The first time Sir John appears in 2 Henry IV, he is with his diminutive page who totters under the weight of Falstaff's huge "sword and buckler" (1.2.1-54).1 Aware of how the tiny figure accentuates his own bulk, Sir John calls the boy a "giant," and comments, "Men of all sorts take a pride to gird at me, . . . If the Prince put thee into my service for any other reason...

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This section contains 9,697 words
(approx. 33 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Nancy Cotton